Section: EditorialsNovember 11, 2016
The shock of the presidential election has been felt around the nation, and the Brandeis campus is no exception. In the wake of these results, the campus entered what appears to be a period of grief. Electing Trump makes many students feel that they are personally put in danger, whether it be due to their race, ethnicity, sexuality or gender.
Little can make this election better. Trump will be our country’s president for the next four years, a stark reality felt across campus by students crying, professors canceling classes and social media overflowing with shock and grief. Yet in the face of this tragedy—and this is a tragedy for America’s most vulnerable—campus has rallied together to support one another and try to move forward.
In the past few days, there have been many options for support. An event in the SCC atrium provided a space for people to process what they’re feeling through art, discussion and free cookies. There is also support for those who need to take action. Within 24 hours of Trump being elected, students held a meeting to organize against the president elect. Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty and students joined Anita Hill to coordinate a discussion about how to move forward. And today, students are organizing the People’s Walkout at the Rabb Steps as an act of peaceful protest.
In this difficult time, it is crucial that students can lean on one another. They also have to know that we have the support of the administration, who should acknowledge the severity of the situation, especially for students from marginalized groups. Yet in his campus-wide email on Wednesday, University President Ronald Liebowitz neglected to address how Trump’s election is significantly more dangerous for people of color, people from immigrant families and people in the LGBT+ community than for anyone else. It is a failure of the administrative support system that ought to be in place to ignore the harsh reality that these groups are disproportionately affected, and as such may need different resources on campus than other students. In the vein of what administrators should be doing, Andrew Flagel, the senior vice president for students and enrollment, spoke at a gathering Wednesday night and acknowledged the fear that marginalized students feel right now. He encouraged everyone to seek out support and to enact change moving forward. “Whatever your political or religious beliefs or background, it’s hard not to see the language of hate and marginalization that seemed accepted in the mainstream in these campaigns as a repudiation of all the things we value most here at Brandeis,” he said.
In the aftermath of the election, many people have been asking what do we do from here?
“As Americans, who do we want to be?” was the question Hill used to guide Thursday’s discussion. As we move forward, it is important to remember that although Trump has won the election, his platform of bigotry hasn’t won yet. We have the potential to keep the country moving in the right direction.
Students are the backbone of social justice at a university that prides itself on activism, and the aftermath of the election proves no different. Considering the unity of students on campus is reassuring. The success of student efforts such as Ford Hall 2015, the Brandeis Asian American Task Force and collaborations with the Rape Crisis Center against sexual violence shows that students on this campus are dedicated to advancing justice and improving our future. Most of the spaces for support around campus this past week have been student-led. When confronting the fact that racism and sexism are what handed Trump the election, it is crucial that the Brandeis community unites against these harmful tenets.