Scripps College students said they feel “unsafe” after another student posted a picture with Vice President Mike Pence on Facebook. The reason behind these complaints is that Pence “has shown himself so willing to commit institutional violence.”
McKenzie Deutsch, a rising junior at the women’s branch of the five-school Claremont Consortium, spent this summer interning in the office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-Wa) office. She posted a picture with Pence and Rodgers captioned, “The places you’ll go, the things you’ll see, the people you’ll meet… What a day it was in DC!”
Deutsch’s peers did not take the photo well.
“I don’t know if you understand that Pence want me and the people I love to be erased by any means possible,” one student wrote. “I don’t know how to express to you how it feels to see a fellow Scrippsie in this photo with someone who has shown himself so willing to commit institutional violence.”
Another student said the picture made her feel “unsafe.”
“Posing next to someone who is a direct threat to LGBT+ groups and other marginalized communities and posting this photo with a pleasant caption is not a politically neutral act,” the student wrote. “It shows you as a person who smiles with our oppressors for the sake of a photo op.”
Another student resorted to dark humor.
“How many LBGTQ folks do you need to help send to conversion therapy in exchange for reproductive rights from Pence?” the student joked.
Deutsche described her experience in a Claremont Independent column on Sunday and criticized the state of public discourse.
“How did we get to the point where taking a photo with someone is an act of violence?” she asked. “How will we ever be able to have adult conversations if no one is ever willing to listen to those who have opposing philosophies?”
Deutsche concluded her essay calling for civility in disagreements.
“Apparently, when it comes to those with whom they disagree, many of my peers are only capable of disrespectful engagement…However, you will not persuade anyone by being the loudest to yell, or condemning others because their views do not align with yours,” Deutsche wrote. “Instead, we should engage in civil discourse and allow respect and reason to prevail.”