Trump’s election last Tuesday brought a fervor of emotions from citizens all across the country. Loud, sometimes violent, protests have been staged against Trump in major cities asking for the electoral college to stand by the popular vote while Trump supporters dismiss the protestors actions as childish behavior.
Millersville University has not been immune to the political drama. Seemingly nothing has been discussed on campus but the election. Many students are angry or even afraid. Some have experienced arguments with friends and family over political views. Samantha Blasch, Senior and president of the Social Work Organization, shared her concerns, “I’m honestly astounded by the results of the election. I’m afraid of what he’ll do to this country. I’m afraid for my friends who are part of the Muslim and LGBTQIA communities, and I’m afraid for my safety. That’s not how America should be.” Students seems to share these sentiments, flocking to social media to share their thoughts.
While no loud demonstrations of protest have occurred on campus, students have found more passive ways to show their dissent.
Students of several classes quite literally stood up for their political convictions during their scheduled class time. Students announced before class that they would be standing for 17 minutes during class and invited their peers to do the same. The 17 minutes were in solidarity for the 16 women who have claimed that Donald Trump sexually assaulted them with one minute added for any woman who has not yet come forward. All 25 English 486 students stood during their class in Stayer 207, some in tears, exchanging hugs and comforting words. The lesson was conducted as it normally would have been until seventeen minutes expired. The silent protest was concluded with a thunderous applause. While the protest was more silent than others happening across the country, it was no less powerful.
Other students chose to stand up in a more public forum during the English Club’s Caffeine House event where students preformed spoken word poetry. Many of those who spoke were African-Americans, women, LGBTQIA+, or those of middle-eastern descent. They spoke of the anger and fear being felt by them, the university, and the country as a whole.
Although students are frightened for the future, Millersville’s students have also chosen to focus on the positive. The election has led to increased issues on politics and policy’s. Students have become strong advocators of political causes important to them and are eagerly awaiting the next election in 2018. More importantly, students speak of the incredible unity they have felt amongst themselves. As Marcus W. pointed out in his poem, “My Country is in Distress,” “And a House Divided cannot stand, But we’re also more united than we’ve ever been. Blacks, Muslims, Gays, and Women all coming together… With comforting words and comforting phrases Coming together in all kinds of places.” For Millersville students, unity may be the most encouraging thing of all, a bright light in a dark time.