Traumatized and Indignant, College Students React to a Trump PresidencyPosted: November 9, 2016 | |
Protests, hugs, and solidarity mark campus responses across the country.
“We probably are going to have to get more spaces. The one consistent thing that I see is hugs.”
Katherine Knott and Shannon Najmabadi write: As the election results rolled in Tuesday night, Rosie Nelson, a third-year doctoral student at Stanford University, was at a seminar for Leland Scholars, a program to transition freshman students into college life. Many of the students who opt into the program, she said, are low-income or minority students; many are first-generation Americans.
“That in a lot of ways will probably be my biggest memory of election night. Students coming together to support and love each other.”
By the second hour of the seminar, she said, everyone had become engrossed in the election, some monitoring The New York Times’s live results. When the needle on the site’s meter indicated a 70-percent chance of victory for Donald J. Trump, she said, the mood in the room shifted to disbelief. By 7:25 p.m., Pacific time, it became clear to many of the students that Mr. Trump was going to win.
The mood was tense; some students called their families, worried for their safety. Others stayed with one another, Ms. Nelson said, to make sure their peers were OK. “That in a lot of ways will probably be my biggest memory of election night,” she said in an interview. “Students coming together to support and love each other.”
“I don’t know if there will ever be a way to heal from this, but this is the first step. We are never going to accept it.”
These complex emotions were manifesting themselves on the campus, more broadly. Before 9 p.m., Ms. Nelson received an email inviting her to a “F*CK DONALD TRUMP” rally at 10 p.m. on the campus’s White Memorial Plaza. Throughout the night, at least seven more emails rolled in from various campus groups, offering safe spaces, spots to pray, heal, talk, or decompress. Ms. Nelson said she also saw Facebook posts espousing “how important it is to love each other.” Other social-media users posted the phone number for a suicide-prevention hotline.
“The vibe that I’ve been feeling is that there is a lot of anger, frustration, and feeling like as students we weren’t heard. There’s also a recognition that the best thing we can do for each other right now is to come together and show resilience.”
“The vibe that I’ve been feeling is that there is a lot of anger, frustration, and feeling like as students we weren’t heard,” she said, particularly for students from marginalized communities. “There’s also a recognition that the best thing we can do for each other right now is to come together and show resilience.”
Hours after Mr. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, and the following morning, students and university staff members were still processing the results and long-term implications. For many the shocking outcome represents an affront to identity: Mr. Trump has discussed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, called immigrants criminals, and bragged about groping women.
Students, some feeling traumatized and others indignant, have mobilized in protest at campuses across the country. In response, universities are making counseling resources available and carving out spaces for dialogue as students are finding solidarity through demonstrations.
Protests and Campus Response
Regan Buchanan, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-president of the Campus Y, a social-justice group, organized a walkout for Wednesday afternoon. The gathering was intended to provide a space for students to talk or vent, especially for those who feel that their identities and safety are in jeopardy.
“I don’t know if there will ever be a way to heal from this, but this is the first step,” she said in an interview. “We are never going to accept it.”
On the other side of the country, students at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles marched in the streets shortly after news of Mr. Trump’s election victory became official, chanting, “not my president.”….(read more)
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