North Texas Daily

Students, psychologists discuss post-election woes

Students, psychologists discuss post-election woes

November 16
20:43 2016

Amid the election of Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world, UNT joined cities and universities across the country to protest his new position.

Dozens of students have said they were apprehensive about Tuesday’s election results. They were resilient and shouted “F– Donald Trump!” They bonded over their differences and talked a lot about skin color and privilege. They shouted “Black lives matter!” But undergraduate and graduate students joined faculty in responding peacefully to a Trump presidency.

A week after the election, about 100 students gathered in the Union Wednesday evening to discuss the impact of the 2016 presidential election. More chairs were brought to the room to accommodate the growing crowd.

UNiTy town hall, sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity, was made to address any concerns student, staff and faculty had over the election.

Tensions ran high after Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. The meeting was planned over a month ago but fell in perfect timing for students, faculty and staff to express their concerns about the results of the election.

Many attendees expressed their concerns about what the future held, these concerns ranged from immigration to safety on campus.

“One of the things that I first saw at this institution was it was the most caring community that I have ever been involved in,” President Neal Smatresk said. “I have been to a lot of schools in my career and when I arrived at this campus, what I saw that people were welcomed and felt the warmth of the community.”

The conversations were centered around practicing inclusion on campus and valuing diversity among all students. The university has a history of sponsoring a diverse environment. This promotion is seen in UNTs “This is Me at UNT” allowing students to embrace their traits.

The moderators of the event were Clincal psychologist Dr. Joshua Hook, Dr. Endelia Sauceda, a clinical psychologist and staff psychologist in the counseling and testing center at Chestnut Hall, and associate director of residence life Tomas Sanchez.

Smatresk commented on how the ultimate future of the country remains uncertain, but made it clear that actions based upon hate and prejudice were not going to be tolerated on campus.

Plancarte remains politically active against Trump and has tried her hardest to be a part of uniting minority groups at UNT.

“A lot of people who have power at the university are unaware and unprepared for the questions we are going to ask them. It’s a lot of the questions that the Hispanic organizations of campus were asking which is about DACA. I was frustrated with the fact that they were giving the same answers and they weren’t saying that UNT was going to take a stance,” Plancarte said. “I felt that this was to make us unified and more secure but I feel like this makes undocumented students more insecure. I was born in this country but I have been protesting this entire last week for the undocumented students.”

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and co-chair of the student support task force Teresa McKinney commented on the importance of promoting a diversity on campus.

“We held this event in a series of events we are hosting with the student support task force. We want to make sure to foster the idea of diversity at UNT,” McKinney said. “We want to make sure that we give people a voice to express their different perspective and identities in a safe and secured environment. We want to make sure that we can act as a united UNT family so we are able to successfully support each other and be allies for one another.”

Clinical psychologist and staff psychologist Enedelia Sauceda related her experience at the town hall meeting back to the students she has talked with in her practice.

“I think what stood out to me was the resiliency,” Sauceda said. “The fact that people filled this room showed that students showed that intention and showed that folks are on the same page of the university regarding diversity and inclusion. It reminded me of resiliency.”

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Anna Orr

Anna Orr

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