Universities across the country have been receiving negative media coverage for responding to election results by cancelling classes the day after the election and offering special counseling for those students who are experiencing strong negative feelings about the election results. While most universities are not taking such drastic actions, Tech’s student body is reacting in its own way, initially through chalk art.
Starting on Nov. 9, messages including “Love Trumps Hate”, as well as supportive messages aimed at minority populations began to appear, most notably on the sidewalk in front of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Other messages elsewhere on campus focused more vaguely on the concept of unity. While it is possible that the chalking in front of the library was likely organized, other smaller instances seem to be the acts of individuals.
Elsewhere on Campus, “Trump” had also been written, although in most cases it did not remain unedited for long, as other students wrote other words around or over it. While some of the instances form popular or articulate slogans or statements, in one case the word “Tacos” was written in large font over Trump’s name.
Larger and more visible responses were also planned, including a peace-walk involving students carrying signs walking from campus to the miner statue at the end of College Avenue before crossing the street and coming back to campus. Word of the event was spread primarily through email listservs, as some professors and advisors saw fit.
Several signs were made on campus using supplies available in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “A student dropped off markers and posterboards,” said Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Kellie Raffaelli, “Nothing big, just regular nine by eleven inch paper.”
While the University Administration has taken very active roles in similar events in the past, the university has not officially advocated the event as of the writing of this article. “The only things I did were forwarding the email and posting the email on our facebook page,” said Raffaelli. While mentioning feelings of hopelessness and despair, especially among minorities after the election, the email, which was originally sent by Neffertia Tyner, a member of Tech’s Title IX committee, specifically says that it is not a protest event stating, “This will not be a protest against the results of the election and it is not a protest against anyone’s beliefs. This is a demonstration to offer reassurance and support and show people that we will not accept hate on our campus or in our community.”
In other areas of the country, marches and protests in the wake of the election have not been so peaceful. Riots have broken out in Los Angeles, Portland, New York, Atlanta and others, according to the Washington Post.
President Obama encouraged cooperation in an address at Arlington National Cemetary, but has been criticized for not yet giving a formal address in response to the riots.
Conservative political commentators have criticized the sometimes aggressive responses following the election, and have noted the concern that Democrats expressed regarding concessions in the event of a Trump loss, as many were concerned about potentially violent behavior in that situation.