North Texas Daily

Emotion from presidential election washes onto UNT

Emotion from presidential election washes onto UNT

November 11
14:58 2016

By Bina Perino, Kyle Martin and Sarah Sarder

Students and some faculty joined thousands around the nation Wednesday morning when they gathered in Library Mall to protest president Donald Trump’s election victory.

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

Trump will be the 45th president of the United States after defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. The Republican Party won majorities in both chambers of Congress. Political arts media senior Connor Flanagan was defeated by Republican Lynn Stucky in the race for Texas House District 64.

Marketing junior Joshua Okpara began praying with classmates at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. He and a few friends planned to come, not expecting to muster a crowd.

“As you go on,” said marketing junior Joshua Okpara.  “Go spread love. This is the time to spread love and to keep on loving.”

Okpara began praying with students at about 11 a.m. He and a few friends had planned to come out and were only expecting to pray over a handful of people. But about 300 people showed up.

“A lot of people were crying this morning,” public administration sophomore Isaiah Williams said. “We started praying as a way to minimize backlash from the election. We don’t want things to get worse.”

Student Government Association President Grant Hale the student body and said the demonstration here should serve as an example for the rest of the nation. 

“I think it just really speaks to the sense of community that we have on campus that people are willing to stand in solidarity with one another and show their support,” Hale said. “I hope the same kind of solidarity we saw today can repeat itself throughout our nation.”

In spite of the outcome, logistics and supply chain management senior Jonathan James praised the U.S. and also called for a bright future.

“Last night, we put the election in God’s hands and sang praise for our country,” James said. “The results made us want to bring everybody together for comfort and unity.”

Gary Johnson voter Jimmy Marquez, an international studies senior and former infantryman in the Army, began discussion on American bipartisanship amid a sizable audience near the main congregation outside Willis Library. 

“It’s the two party system that’s dividing our country,” he said. We have to change the system, we have to,” he said. “What we have to do is stop voting in Democrats and Republicans. I was in the military for thirteen-and-a-half years and this is what I’ve come to believe.” 

The prayer circle was somber, many students still in shock from Tuesday’s decision. But those who prayed there reminded everyone the election’s result was not the end. 

“I wanted to let them know that there is still hope and we can still make a change,” Okpara said. “I hope this challenges UNT to make more awareness to students and faculty about voting and the next election.”

With an American flag on her back and a sign in hand, International studies junior Stephanie Plancarte stood outside Willis Library to give free hugs. She wanted to remind students that they’re not alone, especially those who share her concerns as a first generation Mexican-American.

“I think it’s really important for people to see this and hope is here,” Plancarte. “Even though to the people that voted for Trump, I still love you and still care for you. I believe that this is a fight for America and that we can still overcome in our future. I will never stop fighting for what I believe in.”

Once the prayer circle broke, students huddled in their own crowds to discuss their concerns and current events. Kinesiology freshman Zaharria Vincent said, “There’s hope that we can be united and we can make each other stronger. I’m hoping that people dismiss the evil in their minds to try to come together.”

Anthropology professor Melissa Nelson addressed those gathering, expressing gratitude to the student body for demonstrating peacefully, united. 

“I am so proud of my students today for bringing the fight from inside to outside the classrooms,” Nelson said, attending the event with her husband Andrew Nelson, a UNT Lecturer. 

“We stand here united,” Melissa said. “Blacks, whites, latinos. We all stand together.”

Featured Image: Students stand together in solidarity Wednesday afternoon in Library Mall after the presidential election Tuesday evening. Hannah Breland

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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1 Comment

  1. Skip
    Skip November 09, 17:22

    “They were resilient. ‘F– Donald Trump!’ They bonded over their differences, and talked a lot about skin color and privilege. They shouted “Black lives matter!”

    Funny stuff. Hard to know what to do: laugh or laugh harder.

    Reply to this comment

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