University centers, student organizations offer post-election processing spacesand Charles Kyungchan Min | Nov 9, 2016
The Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding and the Office of Religious Life offered post-election processing spaces for students in response to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential election on Wednesday.
The Women*s Center and the LGBT Center are also providing spaces similar to one that Field Center offered for undergraduate and graduate students on Thursday and Friday at noon respectively.
The Field Center’s event, titled “Post 2016 Elections: Finding Community at the Centers,” brought together undergraduate and graduate students in need of discussing and sharing their concerns about the election and the future of the country.
“I honestly have no words to describe the emotions I’m feeling,” said one student who attended the event, “What will happen to all my immigrant friends and family that will face the threat of deportation every second of Trump’s tenure?”
Another student expressed concerns for how this election’s demonstration of “white-lash” has left her afraid and distrustful of white Americans.
“After seeing the exit polls, after seeing how whites, college-educated or not, voted for Trump keeps me at odds with the kind of America I was familiar with all my life,” she said.
Topics of conversation ranged from coping mechanisms for fear of the political consequences of Trump’s victory, and to the ways those disappointed by the election results can become involved and find hope.
The Office of Religious Life hosted a similar event titled “A Time of Prayer and Community” to bring University students, faculty, and affiliates alongside residents of Princeton to discuss the unexpected result. Attendees were given the opportunity to share their personal stories and reactions to the political upset, light candles, and sing psalms.
“I think it’s really important to come together as a community and to be in a place where we can feel together,” Dean of the College Jill Dolan said.
Second-year Princeton Theological Seminary student and Office of Religious life intern Hector Herrera, who helped organize the event, echoed Dolan’s appreciation for the creation of such a space.
“It feels really good to have a space on campus where the community and students are able to breathe, in some sense. The social-political climate set particular expectations and those expectations were kind of shaken,” Herrera said. “Devastating news is always hard to bear and having a space to kind of grief is really important.”
The space was meant for students and other members of the community to come together and find solace amidst all that is going on in American politics, Ana Alonso GS said.
“People have this space where they can share their feelings with other people and just feel that they are supported, and that their voices are heard among all this hate,” she said. “It’s important just for people to feel this support and know that they’re not alone.”
At one point, the event was interrupted by the chants of students outside participating in an anti-Trump rally. The words “Love trumps hate” echoed throughout the room.
“I feel this event provided a meeting space for people to release some pent-up toxins that have probably been building up since the onset of the election, but particularly after last night’s results,” second-year Princeton Theological Seminary student and Office of Religious life intern Barbara Florvil, one of the event’s organizers, said. “It was also a space to believe in the possibility of true unity.”
The event was sponsored by the Office of Religious Life and was held at 6 p.m. in Murray-Dodge Hall.
Student groups such as Princeton Rise Up and Princeton Students for Gender Equality also organized events Wednesday night to provide students with space to reflect upon the election results and share their support for other members of the University community.
Editor’s Note: Students who commented about the Field Center event were granted anonymity for privacy reasons.