Tensions at Montclair State have risen after last week’s election that announced Donald Trump as our President-elect. Students around campus are reacting differently to the news, but one thing is certain among all: the feeling of fear.
The fear that has fallen upon students of Montclair State comes from the uncertainty of what President-elected Donald Trump will mean for minorities in the United States. Faculties around campus have noticed the change of atmosphere among students and have been providing different methods to help them cope. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has offered various forms of help for the students from Let’s Talk session to appointment-based meeting with counselors. As well, CAPS website has provided students with a mixture of relaxation mechanism, health and safety tips.
“It’s too early to know the full impact that it will have on students. My guess is that more students will start to come for some of the new programs that will be offering them.” Jaclyn Friedman-Lombardo, Director of CAPS, said on the matter. The impact that the elections will have on students won’t be known until a significant time has passed, but already students are frightful of what the future might hold.
Callum Forbes, a computer science major, stated, “I think there is some fear with people because of his comments and videos about him saying all the things he said. And just the way he acts. I’m sometimes fearful of what’s going to happen.”
Many students are still in disbelief that Trump had won the election in the first place, “I didn’t think he was going to win at all. So I mean, I really wasn’t expecting that [due to] what he said about women, Muslims and immigrants. So, it kind of makes me uncomfortable about how he is going to take this, especially with this whole wall talk,” expressed Justin D. Llavina, an illustration and animation major.
In various interviews and speeches given by Trump, he has said both controversial and insensitive things on topics like immigration, women’s rights, religion and race. His words have led to this emotion of fear among minorities and a feeling of empowerment among his supporters. Recently, Trump went on “60 Minutes” telling his supporters to stop the violence and to limit the fear among people.
While many students hope that his words will make the violence end, Ruthie Nguyen, a nutrition and science and sustainability major, doesn’t believe much will come from it. She said that, “Trump going on air saying to stop isn’t helpful. Right now, certain people are acting on briefs that have been suppressed for decades and years. They finally have an outlet and are using this opportunity to take it out.”
As well, Montclair State alumnus Lauran Rodrigues and Jennifer Alfred stated on the matter, “People reacted in different ways. The people that supported Trump think that they can do whatever they want, hopefully him telling them to stop will actually make them stop, but actions speak louder than words.”
The violence and the fear that people have been facing have led to many protests across the nation, some even occurring at Montclair State’s campus. The protests have been seen to be helpful to many students, giving them a sense of security and empowerment that we lost after Trump was elected as President. The protests “…are very empowering, to see a community out there that supports and feels the same way. As well, I think it is empowering for people to turn on their television and see the sheer number of people in cities across the country and other small places, protesting. It sends a message to regular people and people in places of government that we are all on our guard now and that we will be watching to make sure that [rights] won’t be taken away from certain people,”
Jennifer Rogers, an anthropology and gender sexuality studies minor, said with pride after stating that she and a friend had joined a protest in New York City a day after the elections.
Though for the students that are scared of joining a protest and don’t feel secure, its tough to feel empowered at the moment. A student that preferred to remain anonymous said that she is not just frightened, but saddened with the whole result of the election. “As a minority, I want to see someone [with power] uplifting minorities and putting us all on the same level as equal white men are. I don’t want to feel like an ‘other’.”