Northeastern community expresses disbelief at Trump victory

Northeastern community expresses disbelief at Trump victory

By Hugh Shirley and Olivia Arnold, news staff

A dreary Boston sky Wednesday seemed to reflect the attitudes of many members of the Northeastern community after the victory of Republican Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

After a late Tuesday night of waiting for electoral votes to come in and watching the states turn red in Trump’s favor, many Northeastern students and faculty expressed feelings of disbelief and disappointment after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s loss.

“I am deeply disheartened, disappointed and discouraged,” said Megan Larson, an undeclared freshman. “I feel like I just don’t understand how people don’t care about the racist and misogynist rhetoric that Trump based his campaign on. I just don’t understand how people don’t care and how that did not make a difference.”  

There were some students, however, who said they were pleased with a Trump presidency.

“I am personally very happy about the election results. I was a personal supporter of President Trump,” said Joe Frissora, president of the Northeastern College Republicans and third-year civil engineering major. “The sentiment was the same within the [college Republicans]—everyone was pretty happy. Even among the [Libertarian candidate] Gary Johnson supporters, it was a lot of the same.”

Michael Dukakis, a professor of political science at Northeastern and the 1988 Democratic nominee for president, said this election and its winning candidate were particularly unconventional.

“This one was unusual, primarily because it was Trump,” Dukakis said. “Here’s this guy with this checkered past of sexual relationships and business relationships and everything that we heard about. If any of us who had run for the presidency and just done one of those things…”

William Mayer, a political science professor at Northeastern and advisor for the Northeastern College Republicans, said that because he was a “determined non-Trump, non-Clinton Republican,” he would not have been pleased with either outcome.

Still, Mayer said he did not think a Trump presidency would be well-received by the international community.

“They will probably initially be horrified,” Mayer said. “Trump will be incredibly unpopular in Europe.”

Many students, especially those who are women and racial minorities, expressed fears over policies Trump might enact as president in areas including women’s rights, LGBTQA+ rights and immigration.

“I’m half Latina and I was born here,” said Katherine Kasper, a sophomore business administration and interactive design double major. “But all of my friends back home in Miami are very wary of the social implications that will occur as people start to become more outspoken [about] his desire to build a wall and get rid of immigrants.”  

Amir Ali, a Muslim-American graduate student, said he was worried how his family and friends would be affected by Trump’s proposed increased surveillance of Muslims. Ali, who is studying for his MBA, said he was also unsettled by a perceived shift toward exclusionary politics.

“I think President [Barack] Obama in his term spent such effort, such a hard time to make sure that America as a whole is a safe space for anyone—whether they’re black, Latino, LGBTQ, Muslim—you could be anyone and this country is yours,” said Ali, as he was on his way to the Muslim prayer space in Ell Hall. “The fact that we might be going toward more traditional, colonialist white American values, which can be a little bit more exclusive, that’s a worry for me.”

Roxanna Santana, an International Village dining hall worker, immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1993 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. She said she voted for Clinton and that Trump’s victory made her feel bad for herself, her family and the entire nation.

“[My family and I] don’t feel safe. America cannot be the same,” she said. “America wasn’t really the same after Sept. 11, but with Donald Trump now, it will be worse than 9/11.”  

Some students, however, offered a more positive outlook on Trump’s victory and encouraged fellow students to offer their support to him.

“Regardless of what you thought of the candidate before, we have to support the president-elect and do our best to look past the differences,” said Michael Napolitano, a sophomore computer science major. “There’s a lot of issues facing our country and the only way we’re going to face them is together. Saying derogatory things toward Donald Trump isn’t doing anything.”

Other students lamented the lost historic opportunity to see the first woman as U.S. commander-in-chief.

“I’m upset because there won’t be a first woman president here,” said Rashed Alnuaimi, a senior political science and economics major originally from the United Arab Emirates. “This says a lot about the division in this country. Clinton was much more qualified and had experience, but [Trump] won.”

Dukakis said students who feel distraught over the outcome of the election need to look at the bigger picture.

“We have 50 state governments and hundreds and hundreds of local governments, all of whom are working very hard to make this country a better place,” Dukakis said.

Sarah Rathje, a junior communications and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major, said Trump’s election should be a motivator for people to get involved in politics to prompt social change.

“We need to stop sitting around and talking about how much it sucks and be active about helping minorities and those who are affected by this,” Rathje said. “I’m done being an idealist, because Donald Trump just got elected. We need to do something.”

Paxtyn Merten, Glenn Billman, Caroline Boschetto, Sophie Cannon, Leslie Hassanein and Shaina Richards contributed reporting to this story.

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons

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