Students and politicians in Congress must work to check President-elect Donald Trump’s power, according to students from political campus groups in light of Trump’s victory over former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s election results were met with heightened tensions on campus Wednesday and Thursday. The Institute of Politics and Public Service brought in six chaplains to offer support to students as they followed the election results in the Healey Family Student Center on Tuesday evening. Counseling and Psychiatric Services also ensured that one or more staff members were available each hour Wednesday during office hours, according to CAPS Director Phil Meilman.
Protestant Chaplain Rev. Brandon Harris recognized Tuesday night as emotional for many students.
“We are here to provide spiritual resources and support for students across political affiliations as a way to provide counseling, somebody to talk to and just a listening ear,” Harris said. “There are a lot of emotions in this election, so we will listen to everyone.”
Some students already seeing CAPS asked for appointments to be moved up, but there has been no increase in first-time visits, according to Meilman.
Clara Mejia Orta (COL ’17), who is a student without documentation, said Trump’s victory represents a victory for a fear-based campaign.
“During the past eighteen months, I have heard our stories being reduced to numbers, our struggles reduced to ‘those people,’ and our power overshadowed by the criminalization of our dreams,” Orta wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The outcome of this election is a reflection of the unfounded fear of the other — Undocumented, Queer, Muslim, Latinx, Black, Disabled, Trans, Womxn.”
Students in the Muslim Students Association have been focusing on self-care in light of Trump’s election, according to MSA Chair Khadija Mohamud (SFS ’17).
“The reality that there can be this much hate and ignorance and fear incited and reinforced in terms of the rhetoric that’s been used through this entire election, and the culmination of the results that have happened, it’s very disheartening. ” Mohamud said.
Mohamud said despite the current heightened racial climate in the United States, the university community remains accepting of her and other Muslims.
“One thing that I can say that is really beautiful about the Georgetown community is that I have never received so many texts from friends who are non-Muslim, friends who are my classmates or haven’t spoken to in a long time who care so much and check up on me,” Mohamud said.
Campaign group Hoyas for Hillary President Grant Olson (COL ’19) said the loss is a setback to Obama’s achievements.
“It was such a blow, because this generation on college campuses right now, it’s probably their first experiences after seeing this drumbeat of succession of things happening first black president elected, gay marriage — but I think people got complacent,” Olson said.
Olson also said Democrats failed to realize many Americans’ desire for concrete change against establishment politics.
“We ignored her, and the fact that there was a very real, very present feeling among a lot of the country that it was time for radical change,” Olson said. “We were all in tears. We were all sobbing. We were all in shock.”
The result was shocking to student groups on both sides of the political spectrum. Georgetown College Republicans Vice Chair Sam Granville (COL ’17) said conservatives on campus hold similar values to other students, even in light of Trump’s victory.
“Tuesday night was really hard. I’ve spent the last year and half trying to convince people that not all Republicans are filled with hate, that not all Republicans are Trump supporters,” Granville wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I just hope my Georgetown peers know that I am equally as upset as they are and as ready to fight for our American values as they are.”
GUCR Chair Megan Pohl (COL ’17) said the group will look to create a positive, open dialogue on campus.
“We will continue in the spirit of this past year by engaging in conversations, inviting discourse, and providing forums for discussion,” Pohl wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We are not a party of xenophobes, homophobes, racists, sexists. We are not a party of hatred.”
Trump’s victory has made campus political groups rethink their goals. Olson said Hoyas for Hillary will look for ways to organize against Trump and his policies with which they disagree.
“It’ll take a little time – I’m going to take some time – but I want to come back and start making change and keeping this White House in check,” Olson said. “We can really do a lot of great things; I know we can. I’m not sure where this is going to go, but I know that in the coming days and weeks we’ll figure out exactly what needs to be done and what we need to do for the future.”
In particular, H*yas for Choice Co-President Brinna Ludwig (NHS ’17) said Trump’s victory has made her rethink the political nature of the organization.
“I never had thought of Hoyas for Choice as a partisan organization, but I had a realization that in the state of politics today, we have no choice but to be partisan,” Ludwig said. “The Republican Party is now the anti-choice party, I mean there are a few pro-choice Republicans, but they’re very few and far between.”
Marco Garcia (SFS ’19) said campus has to look the future with optimism.
“I am ecstatic that Trump won the election,” Garcia wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Campus has become so melancholic and somber, and, in my opinion, it’s pitiful.”
Pohl said students must work together to ensure Trump is the president he promised to be in his victory speech.
“If Donald Trump truly desires to ‘Make America Great Again,’ that includes making it great for the entire nation,” Pohl said. “It will not be easy going forward, but I do not believe that hope is lost. We must all remain politically engaged, raise our voices in the name of what we believe in, and work together.”
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