To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Students, faculty, admin. respond to election results

Students have come together after Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, in the form of campus events, personal conversations and social media posts.

On Wednesday, students could be seen hugging and crying around campus, offering support and having discussions among each other and in their classes. Trump won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 228, according to the latest projections, in what national papers called a stunning upset.

Sivan Ben-Huyan ’19 described campus as “somber” and “depressed.” She decided not to attend classes Wednesday and said professors were understanding.

“It felt like no one was happy, but I know that that’s not true. I know because I’ve spoken to Trump supporters on this campus,” she said. She did say the mood on campus is “something that liberal arts school students get to experience because I’ve been talking to my friends who go to state schools who say their campus is largely unaffected.”

“I could feel the emotional weight in the air,” said Morgan Winters ’17, who decided to give out candy on campus Wednesday morning. “I think for many people, myself included, the biggest shocking slap in the face has been realizing how much of the American people either don’t care or actively hate so many communities.”

Some professors devoted class time to discussing the result, including Prof. Chad Williams’ Introduction to African and Afro-American Studies, Prof. Marya Levenson’s Education and Social Policy and Prof. Sara Shostak’s Sociology of Body and Health.

Prof. Elizabeth Bradfield’s poetry writing class spent 45 minutes reading uplifting poems and poetry confronting race relations. Students also did a free write on how they felt about the election. Students in Sociology of Education spent the first 45 minutes of class in silence and walked through three classrooms responding to prompts on sticky notes about steps to combat issues such as racism, sexism and ableism, according to Ben-Huyan.

Other professors cancelled class or made it optional, including Prof. Margaret Clendenen’s Sociology of Religion optional and instructor Megan Finch’s Writing the Nation.

“I will not presume that Shiffman is where you need or ought to be at 9 o’clock this morning,” Finch wrote to her students, promising though that if they came to class she would be there with coffee and bagels.

On Wednesday night, approximately 50 students gathered in the Shapiro Campus Center with chairs, blankets and drawing materials set up across the atrium, to offer support and share their thoughts on the election through discussion and art.

“We needed a space to just be together and … discuss and listen and share our voice,” said Gemma Curnin ’19, who organized the gathering in conjunction with the Student Union. She said it is easy not to feel safe right now, especially for people of color, the LGBT+ community and any marginalized group. She wanted to create this space “to let people know that this is the beginning of a safe environment and that we’re here, everybody’s here.”

Ben-Huyan said the event “felt like a wake,” with “distraught” students coming together. “As far as folks who have reacted negatively, it seems like most people either feel hopeless and frightened or organized and ready to mobilize,” she said.

Shaquan McDowell ’18 stressed the importance of looking to the future despite devastation. “America’s not over. And we’re not over,” he said at the event. “If we stay strong and we keep working … we will push forward and things will change.”

Clinton’s progress “is a testament to the progress we’ve made as a country over the last 240 years of our existence and is a testament to how much we can do as we continue to push,” he added.

As election results came in, Curnin got in touch with Student Union president David Herbstritt ’17 and several administrators who helped pull the event together on Wednesday.

“I actually texted Dean Adams, probably around 2 or 3 a.m., and he responded so quickly and put me in touch with his office,” said Herbstritt.

“We all managed to come together and talk to the right people and get the right stuff to the right place at the right time … I’m kind of amazed at the turnaround we were able to get,” he said. Cookies, brownies and hot chocolate were set out for attendees.

Though it will be challenging, Herbstritt thinks the campus will move forward. “My sense of the sentiment is that we will persevere, we will come together and get through this and heal the wounds this election has inflicted,” he said.

There have been meetings all across campus, including a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Town Hall moderated by Prof. Anita Hill (WMGS). The Brandeis Asian American Task Force, TRISK and the Brandeis Labor Coalition also hosted meetings.

Students joined a crowd of thousands at an anti-Trump rally in Boston Wednesday night. Demonstrations erupted across the country with people carrying signs reading “Not My President” and “Nasty Women Fight Back.” There have been protests on college campuses and walkouts at high schools.

Brandeis students are planning to walk out of classes and gather at the Rabb Steps today, Friday, Nov. 11, at 10:30 a.m. The People’s Walkout was organized by Miranda Hurtado-Ramos ’19 and was inspired by Chicanx student walkouts in 1968 in East Los Angeles for equality in education.

There is also a Love Rally happening in Boston Commons today. A Facebook page for the event states that Brandeis students can gather at the Rabb Steps to take a 12:30 p.m. shuttle to Boston.

Administrators have also responded to the election, including President Ronald Liebowitz and Andrew Flagel, the senior vice president for students and enrollment.

Brandeis students have always engaged passionately in political debate and encouraged the campus community to come together, Liebowitz said in an email.

“What members of our community have always done is support one another, engage with one another, ask questions of one another, and challenge one another with compassion and respect,” said Liebowitz, encouraging everyone to continue the tradition.

Flagel spoke at the safe space event Wednesday. He echoed students’ sentiments about perseverance and community support. “I just say that this country and this community are stronger than any one election,” Flagel said.

He said many have been stunned by the divisiveness of the campaign.

“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.”

Flagel expressed his confidence in the Brandeis student body and their ability to make positive change even in the wake of tough times. “I know that you all can be the change we want to see in the world. I have faith in that, more than anything else,” he said. He encouraged everyone to turn to each other and university resources for support.

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