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“I don’t want to see that,” Missouri student tells campus visitor wearing a MAGA hat

Kansas City man allowed to vote while wearing his MAGA hat

An election worker told a Clay County man he couldn’t wear a “Make America Great Again” hat while voting Tuesday. But the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office said he could wear the hat because it doesn’t pertain to this primary election
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An election worker told a Clay County man he couldn’t wear a “Make America Great Again” hat while voting Tuesday. But the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office said he could wear the hat because it doesn’t pertain to this primary election

Seeing a person wearing a Make America Great Again hat on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joesph sent a student into a rant that was captured on video.

The video posted on Facebook by school’s student newspaper and circulating on social media shows a young black woman yelling at someone who does not appear in the video and at a campus police officer.

“It is a symbol of white supremacy. I don’t want to see that,” the woman yells in the hallway of a campus building. “I wake up every day and I see my people getting killed.”

When confronted by the police officer trying to quiet her, the woman asks him, “Do you know what that hat symbolizes?” The officer asks her if she wants to talk calmly. “I don’t want to talk calmly. I want him to take that off.”

Campus officials said the incident occurred late Friday afternoon. The woman is a Missouri Western student. The person wearing the MAGA hat was a high school student visiting the campus to help decorate for a prom his school was holding there that weekend.

After the video drew attention on social media, university administrators held a listening session Monday evening, which drew about 50 students, faculty and staff.

“Free speech is one of our core values and another is respect,” said Kent Heier, a university spokesman. “We are 100 percent supportive of free speech. We preserve the right to free expression for all those on this campus, students, staff, faculty and visitors.”

University President Robert Vartabedian said in a statement that “ideally, we would express our views and listen to views different from our own not with an intent to start or win an argument, but to understand and be understood. That can be a challenge in a community like Missouri Western’s, where we have such a diversity of backgrounds and opinions. But it is vital. “

Vartabedian said he hoped this incident would spark reflection and conversation that will “deepen all of our understanding of these two core values, freedom and respect.“

Missouri Western officials talked with the student in the video and reached out to the high school student who wore the MAGA hat.

In addition to Monday’s listening session, the university has planned a talk about free speech and respect to be held April 9. A previously scheduled event, “Hate Speech, the Holocaust and Human Rights,” is set for April 16.

Mará has written on all things education for The Star for 20 years, including issues of school safety, teen suicide, universal pre-K programs, college costs, campus protests and university branding.

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