Snopes Lamely Tries to Exonerate Emory Crybullies, Gets Facts Wrong [Updated]
[guest post by JVW]
As a follow-up to last night’s post on the recent kerfuffle at Emory, I see that the website Snopes, which describes itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation,” has weighed in. In what seems to be a curious take on the subject, the snopes blogger Kim LaCapria focuses on the claim that Emory students “were offered ’emergency counseling’ after pro-Trump graffiti appeared overnight in campus ‘safe spaces,'” and judges it to be “mostly false,” decreeing the following:
WHAT’S TRUE: Students at Emory University gathered in protest after pro-Trump graffiti appeared overnight; administrators investigated the graffiti as it appeared outside designated areas for chalk markings.
WHAT’S FALSE: “Emergency counseling” was offered to or demanded by students; Emory students complained that their “safe spaces” had been violated; students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.
It strikes me as a bit odd that Ms. LaCapria is so fixated on the idea of emergency counseling being offered. Yes, as she points out, some conservative critics claimed that the school had offered the students “emergency counseling,” and in fact, the word “counseling” was not used in any official communication from Emory’s administration, let alone “emergency counseling.” But the administration did promise “. . . regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues, a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and [the] addressing of social justice opportunities and issues and a commitment to an annual retreat to renew our efforts,” and announced that the student government would be holding extra office hours “to provide Emory students an opportunity to discuss such support and inclusivity on Emory’s campus.” While this might not rise to the level of official counseling sessions with trained psychiatric professionals, it seems to me to be at least some sort of counseling or other.
But let’s put that aside for a moment, giving Ms. LaCapria the benefit of the doubt in her judgement. What can’t be explained away, though, is her puzzling assertion that students were not in fact “afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.” If that were the case, then how would Ms. LaCapria explain the following quotes from the article in the Emory Wheel campus newspaper:
An antiphonal chant addressed to University administration, led by College sophomore Jonathan Peraza, resounded “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” throughout the Quad. [. . .]
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well. I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school. . .” [. . .]
“What are we feeling?” Peraza asked those assembled. Responses of “frustration” and “fear” came from around the room. . . “
[bolded emphasis in all cases is added by me]
Though I have never been a huge believer in the idea that Snopes is part of a left-wing media cabal seeking to push a progressive agenda, I find it difficult to read this particular entry and not get the sense that Kim LaCapria sought to spin this controversy in a way to mitigate the damage that Emory crybullies and their venal and cowardly administration have done to their university. Honing in on the idea that the word “counseling” was never used, and the weird obsessiveness with debunking the idea that “emergency” counseling was offered is one thing, but Ms. LaCapria is flat-out wrong in her assertion that no students expressed fear or a sense of trauma at the chalkings.
I rate her coverage of the Emory Crybully Saga to be “Mostly False.”
UPDATE: MD in Philly, who at the moment is not in Philly, reminds us that this site has had opportunity in the past to call into question the Snopes ruling on disputed events. Thanks for the timely reminder.