Story by Caroline Roffe, Jamie Altman, Rebeccah Glaser and Jackie Cohen
This post contains expletive words and written signs.
At least 150 students gathered in the Attallah Piazza and then in front of Argyros Forum Wednesday afternoon to rally against Republican Donald Trump, who was elected president of the U.S. Tuesday night.
The protest began in the Attallah Piazza, where students stood silently holding signs that read “#ChapmanAgainstTrump,” “We are not defined by hate” and “He is not my president.” Some students were crying and hugging each other.
Later in the day, the rally gained momentum in front of Beckman Hall, and Trump supporters threw Trump campaign signs from the fourth floor of the building.
“This rally is a good way for us to come together as a community and grieve for a better a future that we had presented to us, where universal health care was a reality, where our president cares about minorities. We were so close to that future,” said Maggie Mirrione, a junior film production major.
Junior Brad West, president of Chapman Democrats, and junior film production major Kiersten Vannest planned the event together late Tuesday night.
“It seemed pretty clear that (Trump) was going to win, and we said, ‘OK, this has to happen right now,’” West said. “I had about 20 people in my apartment last night making signs until 3 a.m. … It grew beyond my wildest expectations.”
Vannest said that she hoped the rally would send a message of empathy and show students who felt marginalized by the election that their voices are still being heard.
“The fact that this many people showed up, shows exactly how many people needed an outlet in this time of need,” she said. “We’re here to show love, not hate. We’re a college, so we’re about education, not isolation.”
At around 1 p.m., students marched to the Orange Plaza, carrying signs and chanting, “Black Lives Matter,” “Not my president,” “(Expletive) Trump” and “Love, not fear.”
“We made a statement even beyond this campus,” West said. “We made a statement to (Orange), and that city usually sees us as just a piggy bank. We voiced our concerns, we voiced our opinion on the matter, and I think that’s important.”
Some students who had voted for Trump were in attendance and started shouting in support of him. In response, those in the rally chanted, “Rise above.”
Although the rally was only supposed to last until 2 p.m., students lingered and ended up congregating in front of Beckman Hall, where more students engaged in discussions about the election.
“I just want to stand by my candidate, well the future president now. Before it was all just a one-sided thing and I wanted people to hear both sides,” said Daniel Cooper, a freshman business administration major, who was holding a Trump campaign sign.
Cameron Gelinas, president of the Chapman Republicans, saw the rally going on and decided to bring Trump campaign signs from his car, which he later threw from Beckman Hall.
“I probably got a little carried away there,” Gelinas said. “It was more of an emotional decision, which I feel like is a very liberal thing, to be making a lot of emotional decisions. We were yelling ‘Lock her up.’ I do think that Hillary (Clinton) is a criminal. But throwing the signs off (of Beckman Hall) was probably a bad idea.”
Seeing the crowd, Trump supporters approached the protesters. The discussion became heated when students on both sides shouted about their views on immigration. This dissipated into dialogue between Trump and Clinton supporters over different issues.
Genevieve Geller, a freshman graphic design major, felt empowered participating in the rally and voicing her opinions.
“For me, a lot of this is being ashamed to be an American and being part of a society that would elect someone who is so hateful and so ignorant, and wanting to be part of a movement that can make our voice heard, so people know that not everyone in America believes in the hatred and the ignorance,” Geller said.
Justice Crudup, a senior political science major, attended the rally to show other students who feel marginalized that they are not alone.
“Being that I feel the same, I wanted to create a group of people that can come together today and show not only the campus but other campuses around California that we feel the same way,” Crudup said. “We are going through the same type of grieving process.”