Students and faculty voice fears about election results

By Liz Hardaway, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Just 48 hours after the election results were unveiled, Ohio Wesleyan held an open discussion among students and faculty to review the historic night.

In the second floor lounge of Smith Hall, around 40 people gathered, including staff from the Chaplain’s Office, six alumni and Jenny Holland, an assistant professor of politics and government. Sally Leber, the director of service learning, facilitated the discussion.

The night started with an introduction from Rock Jones, who celebrated how diverse the campus community is, which, in turn, provides a wide range of perspectives concerning different issues.

“We come here to learn with one another and to learn from one another,” Jones said.

Leber opened up the floor by asking attendees why that had come to the discussion. Many students voiced their fears and anger toward Donald Trump, president-elect, especially with many of the comments he made during his campaign trail.

Holland commented that this year’s election has been one of the most contentious elections in the modern era. With the polls mainly pointing to Clinton, many people felt shocked at the outcome.

Associate Chaplain Chad Johns discussed the term “othering,” or defining someone as “not like us,” either by cultural or personal factors. In the election cycle, Johns explained the liberals made the mistake of ‘othering’ many people in rural and working-class America.

“There was this assumption that no American could support Trump,” Johns said. “So we de-Americanized a whole swath of the population … we have two segments of our nation where we all claim the title ‘American’ that have ‘othered’ each other.”

Students mainly expressed fears concerning social issues, especially with the LGBT, Latino and Muslim communities. Even nationally, there was a record-breaking 300 calls made to the crisis hotline Trans Lifeline 24 hours after the election results, according to a statement made on its Facebook page.

There was also uncertainty among the group, one student even asking Holland what to expect to happen in the next four years with the new president-elect. Holland encouraged students to get involved, especially at the local level.

“Community is messy,” Leber said. “Community has problems, it has people coming from all different viewpoints and community works when people listen.”

With many heavy topics discussed, Jones ended the event on a lighter note, asking students to voice what they are hopeful for.

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