COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It’s a simple message; be kind, respectful and embrace diversity.
“After the election the climate on campus was a little hostile you know, we had people going after each other for you know, differences and professors who thought certain things were getting death threats and it was getting a little out of hand,” said Stephen Bates, a student at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
“People not treating each other with respect and kind of forgetting their manners and forgetting how they were raised,” said Samuel Thomas Elliott, a senior and student body president of UCCS.
To bring back kind manners, Elliot and the Student Government Association launched the Inclusive Campus Campaign just one day before the presidential inauguration on January 20th.
“The election was polarizing. There are a lot of topics that America is addressing today that people are very passionate about and conversations get heated. And it’s okay for conversations to get heated, Elliott said.
Elliot says the pledge highlights the pillars of the university and states discrimination of any kind contradicts those pillars.
That’s why now you’ll see some students on campus sporting a smiley face pin on their shirt or backpack – keeping it politically neutral.
“It kind of unites everyone you know, ’cause everybody kind of believes these things like be a good person to each other, respect each other you know, don’t hate people because they’re different, but you know, something like the button is something cool that unites us all and it’s fun because you can see other people wearing the button and it’s like, ‘hey!'” Bates said.
“This campaign isn’t about thicker skin or not being able to have politically charged conversations. It’s about making sure that when politically charged conversations or any conversations for that matter are happening, that we remember to treat each other with respect and stick to the point, and attack the ideas and don’t attack the person,” Elliott said.
Elliot says they plan on spreading the campaign to the rest of the CU school systems.