Students at IC voice concerns about diversity after presidential election

By Natalie Shanklin and Ramya Vijayagopal

Following the results of the Nov. 8 election in which Donald Trump won the title of President-elect of the United States, there were many people at Ithaca College who said they felt afraid for themselves and their loved ones who belonged to marginalized communities. Junior Max Denning, treasurer of Feminists United, said he had never seen the campus so depressed.

“I asked one of my professors who’s been at IC for 25 years if she’s ever seen the campus so overall depressed and she said no,” Denning said. “She said it wasn’t even this bad after 9/11. So I think that’s a really good barometer of how upset the campus was.”

Following the election results, groups on campus mobilized to provide spaces for healing, and later, for taking action.

“A number of groups on campus had events the next week to provide a safe space to talk about the election or just support people of color, members of the LGBT community, women on campus,” Denning said. “It’s a scary time to be a member of a marginalized group in the United States.”

Senior Sarah Logsdon, a Student Leadership Consultant at the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, said she noticed a need for support after the results came out, and her office wanted to provide an offering for those in pain.

“The day after the election, hearts were really heavy especially in OSEMA where diversity and inclusion is half of the office,” Logsdon said. “The day after the election they offered free pizza in the Student Activities Center for any student who wanted to come … It was a small offering for some of the emotions people were feeling.”

Denning said people on campus and around the country are feeling unsafe.

“People are feeling unsafe because of the galvanization of Trump supporters, who have beliefs that particularly threaten their livelihoods,” he said. “Of course we’ve seen a huge uptick nationwide in hate crimes. That is really a part of what people are afraid of. Trump has a number of plans that are going to strip people’s rights in this country.”

Logsdon said there needs to be improvement in the way the college handles issues of diversity and inclusion.

“[Diversity] is treated very reactionary,” Logsdon said. “A lot of it is in response to criticism instead rather than them trying to make an inclusive environment to start with, and I think that’s where a lot of the issues come from. … It’s kind of like everything’s very reactionary and not thought about, especially since that’s an office that’s really understaffed.”

Sophomore Anna Gardner, who will be vice president of Feminists United in thestarting Sspring  semester 2017 semester, and said she was shocked and saddened by the results of the election.

“My heart is ripped open for people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ, undocumented people, immigrants, folk with physical and mental disabilities, and women (especially of color),” she said the day of the election in a Facebook post. “If you feel fine, know that others do not. Also, do not stoop to the hatred and bigotry of this campaign. Put your money where your mouth is and get involved and protest. That means more than sharing articles on Facebook … If we’re going to play this way, this president-elect isn’t coming in without a fight.”

Podcast: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4Ta_Pd85D1XZmdXUUVpWUpqQkE

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