On Colorado State University’s campus, reactions were mixed after Donald Trump emerged victorious Wednesday morning with 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.
On campus, a space for campus conversation was held at the Diversity House Wednesday at noon. On the plaza, a few protestors held signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “America was never great.” In Old Town, a flashlight vigil will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night on the square.
Among faculty from the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, the concern is not about which party is right, but whether students feel safe.
On Wednesday, the office offered space for a campus conversation at the Diversity House. They have hosted talks like this before when different national events called for community support. According to Ria Vigil, director of diversity education and training, there is power in story and connection, and research shows mental health improves with connection and sharing.
“It’s about understanding the rhetoric and how that’s been impactful for people. To me it’s not a Republican/Democrat thing,” Vigil said. “I think there are people who voted Republican who didn’t necessarily support him, they just vote Republican. I don’t think just because you’re a Republican you subscribe to these ideals, I think that people vote for a variety of different reasons.”
The conversation was an opportunity for faculty and students to share their feelings and fears. Instructors shared concerns for their students and campus climate. One member of the talk shared that she was devastated, but asked the group for proactivity. She asked: “What’s next?”
Shannon Archibeque-Engle, director of diversity and retention for the college of agriculture, shared fear around what will become of her 17-year-old son.
“This election impacts his life pretty significantly,” said Archibeque-Engle.
According to Vigil, the important thing to do now is to provide support on campus to those who will need it.
“It brings a lot of fear and uncertainty when someone’s elected and his rhetoric has been very anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-women is some ways,” Vigil said. “And, we need to provide spaces for people to talk and connect and process that fear.”
Vigil said she understood that many people on campus are proud of their candidate, who they’ve supported for a long time, but for many people, especially the 175 undocumented students on CSU’s campus, there is a lot of fear that comes with this presidency.
“The things that he has said in many ways are very counter to what we try to do in our office,” Vigil said. “… Creating an environment where all people feel valued and affirmed, and that’s certainly not necessarily what he’s been saying, it’s counter to what we do.”
The flashlight vigil will be held on the square in Old Town Fort Collins tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.