WATCH: Kean students stage peaceful anti-Trump protest
People took turns sharing their thoughts under the clock tower at Kean University after Donald Trump was elected president. Nov. 10, 2016. Credit: Rebecca Panico
By Adrianna Ruffo | Published Nov. 17, 2016
At least 70 people gathered for a peaceful rally at the clock tower on campus Nov. 10 to share their thoughts and concerns about Donald Trump’s impending presidency.
Many Kean University students expressed the most concern over the President-elect’s controversial remarks about women, ethnic minorities and Muslims during his campaign throughout the nearly two-hour rally that started at 6 p.m.
The Young Greens, which is an organization on campus that supports the Green Party, arranged the event. Louis Nicastro, founder and chairperson of Young Greens, handed out several fliers urging students to come to the protest.
“[We staged the protest] to show that there are many Kean students who have legitimate fears of a Trump presidency, they wrote down their fears and posted them to a board,” wrote Nicastro in an email to the Tower after the protest. “It was also to organize and educate people into taking action in their democratic process, we want to end the political apathy our peers have.”
Nicastro added that it’s important to listen to those who have opposing views and to avoid “stereotypes” of Trump supporters.
“Do not censor [Trump supporters], do not shut them out of the conversation,” wrote Nicastro. “Instead hear each other out and communicate for pete’s sake. Generalizations and stereotyping them all only further pushes them towards Trump as they view him to be the only person they can relate to, we all share common grievances and we are all suffering somehow. Start there and build.”
During the rally, protesters were encouraged to sign their name and write any thoughts or fears they had on a large piece of cardboard, which had the words #LoveTrumpsHate in the center.
Several students interviewed by The Tower said they were scared and unsure of what the future may hold.
“It’s very upsetting and frustrating,” said Jesica Counts, 19 an accounting major. “I have a lot of gay friends who are really scared for their lives.”
For others at the rally, the reality of a Trump presidency hadn’t sunk in yet.
“I mean I woke up yesterday and I was really dumbstruck,” said Jordan Bardzik, 21 who is a history major. “It was like my worst fears came true…We’ll just have to take it day by day. I mean, what else can we do?”
A Donald Trump sign lay on the ground where people shared their thoughts in the wake of election results. Nov. 10, 2016. Credit: Rebecca Panico
Mark Hurban, 19, who is majoring in media and film, said it was important to speak out in order to show the “compassion that other people have for each other.”
“This election has been a travesty and has shown they are apathetic toward their fellow man whether its minorities or women or just the poor in general,” Huban said. “It’s been a showcase of apathy toward social issues and what people think of each other as a whole.
“This has shown that America doesn’t care about itself, let alone other people and other countries as a whole,” Hurban continued. “Unfortunately, [this election] has brought out the hatred but it’s also bringing out the compassion that other people have each other and that’s why we are here, speaking out now.”
Before the protest, a mass email was sent out to all students reminding them of Kean University’s Code of Conduct.
“Kean University upholds and defends the constitutional right of free speech for every member of the campus community,” wrote Janice Murray-Laury in the email. “However, hate speech and behavior that threaten or intimidate any individual or group violate the Kean University Code of Conduct.”
“We are a diverse, inclusive University and remind all members of the community of the need for civil discourse on campus and on social media,” wrote Murray-Laury.
Kean students weren’t the only ones who staged a rally in the wake of the election results. More than a thousand students at Rutgers-New Brunswick walked out of class to march and protest Trump yesterday, NJ.com reported.
Nicastro plans to continue educating people about how to get involved in the political process.
“The protest was great and successful, however that is merely step one. Its purpose has been served. We needed to unite and organize and we did that,” wrote Nicastro. “Step two is informing and educating. Education on how to get involved in the political process but most importantly how to constructively talk to someone with a different opinion than yours.”