As the surprising election result comes in, Minerva’s Class of 2020 turn to discussion and protest.
The Minerva Class of 2020 found itself amidst one of the most highly contested and controversial presidential campaigns in living history. For the students, this added to an already exciting and tumultuous time of new adventures and self discovery. Accordingly, the election results had a great impact on the community. Although the responses were not uniform, a large portion of the multicultural group was shocked and emotionally affected by Donald J. Trump’s victory.
The realisation of this upset hit hardest with American students, who were largely in a state of disbelief and grief. In the first hours, they shed tears and shared hugs, supporting each other after what seemed for many as though the world had fallen apart. Trump’s victory, especially the implied rejection of the openness and diversity many students at Minerva stand for, proved hard to grapple with.
Reconciling their divided country continued to be difficult as life went on as normal the morning after. Professors tried their best to keep class going with reduced attendance and distraught student contributions, often struggling to keep their minds off the ‘elephant in the room’ themselves. After class, it all broke down.
Several of the Minerva Facebook pages fired up in engaging conversations on how to proceed. Quickly, students posted links to the many protests erupting spontaneously in the Bay Area in response to Trump’s election. While American students led the effort, many international students joined them to speak up for their values and support their hurting classmates. As Class of 2020 student Ri Bouthillier from Maine put it, ‘people weren’t just scared and looking for support, they were angry, they were rallying. They felt betrayed by their fellow citizens, they wanted the world to know that if the new administration was going to come after us, we were not going to go quietly.’
In front of San Francisco city hall, Minervans were especially vocal, Americans and internationals alike led chants including ‘My body, my choice! – your body, your choice!’ protecting the rights of women choosing to have an abortion, ‘The people, united, will never be defeated’ in both English and Spanish and the strong ‘No justice! No peace!’ protecting the civil and human rights of all residents in America. Minervans peacefully expressed their opinions and contributed to safe and strong protests.
Meanwhile, professors and students also established conversation platforms and information sessions on what this means for the students, the U.S., and the world through which the Class of 2020 will travel during Trump’s tenure. This provided an opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and sorrows with an understanding and compassionate community.