political masks- j.johnstone
Patrick Davis (left) and his fiancee Bailey Conder (right) pose with their “Trump 2020” masks.
Photo provided by Jackson Johnstone

Masks Help Students Speak Up about Politics

Jackson Johnstone

Although it’s easy to see fashionable or neutral masks on campus, students are also wearing masks that contain political statements and messages. For engaged couple Bailey Conder, an accounting major, and Patrick Davis, a political science major, political masks are their mask of choice.

Among their masks include Conder’s “Keep America Great” mask, and Davis’s “Make America Great Again” mask. One of Conder’s reasons behind wearing the current president’s 2020 campaign slogan on her mask is to, as she puts it, “show the students at Manchester University that it is okay to have opinions that differ from those of a traditional liberal arts school.” She believes that the conservative students at Manchester are afraid of being ridiculed if they speak up for their beliefs, and she hopes to bring them a voice.

Davis wears his mask around campus, as he believes it shows support for his country as well as the president’s achievements of “historic trade deals and amazing stock market,” as he puts it. He also wants Republicans around him to feel safe, as he believes that they are constantly being attacked by media and private interest groups.

What have reactions been to their political masks? Conder said she typically gets two reactions wearing her mask around campus, the most frequent of which is people quietly approaching her and whispering, “I love your mask.”

She loves this as she likes meeting other Trump supporters, although she fears for them being called names such as “racist or sexist.” She also states that she frequently received dirty looks from professors and students. She also refrains wearing her mask in certain courses out of fear of her grade being docked.

Davis’s reactions have been more negative: he has had one person yell at him as well as someone swerve towards him in their car while walking. Although he has received praises about his mask from faculty as well, he said that the professors and staff whispered it to him.

Conder and Davis are confident that they have accomplished something by wearing their political masks. Conder says she believes that she has helped create a welcoming environment on campus by allowing students to know that it is okay to express their own opinions. She believes that she is also spreading the opinion that you do not have to conform to what society wants you to think. She is glad that she is a voice for those who are often nervous to speak out.

Davis says that he has accomplished something by making students feel as if they are not alone. He also believes it shows students that it is okay to express their first amendment rights and that they should not be afraid to speak up for the causes they believe in. He ultimately wants conservative students to know that they can be a conservative in college and that students should be open to discussing their differences and learning from each other.

Ultimately both want other students to know that it is okay for them to be who they are, and believe in what they believe in. Conder and Davis both believe that everyone regardless of political views should have the right to express their views without fears of repercussions or fears of violence. They both believe that if they must wear a mask then their mask should mean something important to them.

Conder and Davis are a couple who met during their Welcome Week at Manchester. They are students who bleed black and gold, whose goal is to make everyone feel welcome on campus.