Student's Donald Trump hat stirs controversy at Calgary's Mount Royal University
Woman challenged man to remove 'Make America Great Again' hat, calling it racially charged
The issues of free speech and safe spaces erupted at Mount Royal University Thursday after video surfaced of a man and a woman arguing over whether he should be allowed to wear a hat supporting U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The video, which had been viewed on Facebook more than 524,000 times as of Thursday afternoon, and was also posted to Youtube, shows a young man wearing a red hat with Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," being challenged by a young woman.
"You're not allowed to share hate language in a university," the woman, later identified as Zoe Slusar, the former vice-president of student life at MRU, is heard saying.
"I'm not allowed to support a political candidate?" the man, later identified as Matt Linder, replies.
A group soon gathers as an argument ensues over whether it is appropriate for him to wear it.
"Make America Great Again means make America all for white people: no immigrants, no people of different sexual orientation," the woman says.
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Slusar later supplied a statement to CBC.
"He is allowed to wear the hat," she wrote. "As a student, I disagree with what the hat represents. I have diverse friends (culturally and sexually) who would drop a class if the person wearing the hat was sitting in the room with them, because they would feel unsafe. Given the deeper issues of intolerance and oppression represented by the hat, I disagree with it."
Donald Trump has been accused of racially charged speech on the campaign trail south of the border and has suggested banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and building a wall along the Mexican border.
The video ends when another man grabs the hat off the man wearing it and walks away.
Slusar posted about the encounter on social media.
"I went up and asked him if he would take the hat off, explaining a university should be a safe space," she wrote.
"It was impossible to communicate to him why wearing a hat in support of a movement grown on the seeds of racism, bigotry and exclusion of diversity (sexual and cultural) could make some people afraid."
University officials declined to comment on the incident, instead offering a statement.
"We are aware of the post and will not comment on the specifics of this instance," it read.
"Mount Royal University respects individuals who exercise their constitutionally-protected right to freedom of expression."
MRU political science professor Duane Bratt weighed in on social media, calling the incident "embarrassing."