One week after the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, Kenyon’s response to Donald Trump’s victory is permeating classrooms, dorms and common spaces across campus.
Some administrators and professors have extended their office hours to give students a chance to share their feelings about the election, and many professors diverted from their lesson plans on Wednesday and Thursday last week to give students an intellectual break or a chance to decompress and discuss the election.
The Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, the Department of Political Science, and other College offices have sponsored faculty panels and conversations about a Trump presidency.
The student managers of the Crozier Center for Women sent an email last Saturday announcing the creation of a buddy system for students concerned about their personal safety. The system will provide company for students traveling across campus or to Mount Vernon, and will operate seven days a week for as many hours a day as volunteers are available.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish Mónica García Blizzard allowed her students to postpone a grammar quiz, while Assistant Professor of English Rosemary O’Neill let her students decide how the class would proceed on the morning after the election. For her class on the Thursday after the election, O’Neill invited students to her home to discuss the election in a relaxed atmosphere.
This week, various student organizations organized forums to help students cope with post-election America and share worries and opinions.
The Discrimination Advisors, North Campus Community Advisors and the Center for Global Engagement organized discussions about the impact of the election; yesterday the Asia Society facilitated a discussion about the intersection between Asian American identity and American politics was led by
But the anxieties of minority groups on campus remain high. Some students had already faced adversity in Knox County even before the election: Chloe Hannah-Drullard ’20 recounted an experience in the Mount Vernon Wal-Mart two weeks before the election.
“I bumped into a man in a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat who responded to my apology with, ‘I could kill you for that, n*****,’” Hannah-Drullard said. “At the time, I simply threw up my hands and shrugged it off because I was sure that Hillary would win, and in Hillary’s America, that kind of behavior would finally die out. That didn’t happen, and I — a gay, black, Latina woman — stayed huddled in the library until 2 a.m., afraid to walk to the quad.”
At Tuesday night’s panel discussion hosted by the North Campus Community Advisors, several students belonging to or identifying with marginalized groups on campus vocalized a similar fear.
“The people of color and the marginalized people on campus are processing the election like everyone else,” Isabella Bird-Muñoz ’18, who is Puerto Rican and queer-identifying, said at the panel, “but are also dealing with the aggressions that come with this presidential election,” referring to a national increase in hate crimes.
Eric Sutton ’18, president of the Black Student Union, highlighted the increasingly important role of majority groups in supporting minority groups at the discussion.
“We don’t know what Donald Trump is going to do,” Sutton said, “but we have weeks to decide what we’re going to do.”
Students are not the only ones speaking out in response to the results of the presidential election. In an open letter emailed to students on Monday night, 164 College staffers and professors pledged to support all students who feel threatened under the Trump presidency.
“We will not ‘be okay’ until all marginalized communities can honestly claim the inalienable rights protected by the texts of our democracy—not for citizens or for groups, but for humanity,” the letter read.
“We will not ‘be okay’ until the last members of the community are. We will not “be okay” until we all no longer fear for our safety.”