As election results poured in showing Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race, students took to the streets at colleges across the country, especially on the West Coast, crying and shouting with rage.
College students are part of a generation that is the most Democratic- and liberal-leaning of all age groups, and over the past decade or so, there has been a real generational shift toward the Democrats, according to John Baughman, associate professor of politics at Bates College.
So while there was real jubilation from some students, often those were smaller celebrations. At many schools, Trump supporters had said they stayed “closeted” because the mood on campus was so vehemently against him.
And even in states where support for Trump was strong, college students were less likely to be celebrating the results than the people in the communities around campus.
Surveys by some campus papers had stark results: A Yale Daily News poll last month found 81 percent of students supported Hillary Clinton for president, and less than 5 percent backed Trump. The Yale Daily News also found that 95 percent of conservative students on campus felt that their views were unwelcome — and 75 percent of all students agreed. The University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily found that 75 percent of students supported Clinton and 13 percent backed Trump. The Harvard Crimson reported that 87 percent of students would vote for Clinton, and 6 percent said they would vote for Trump.
For most students, this was their first presidential election. And for many, the response to the results was visceral.
Hundreds of shouting UCLA students poured through campus and into the streets of the surrounding community. The Daily Bruin estimated the crowd at more than 1,500 and reported that they began tearing up and burning a Trump piñata and tried to flip over a car, stopping when they realized someone was inside it.
“Things are really raw for a lot of students,” said Danny Siegel, president of the student government at UCLA, who said there are some Trump supporters on campus but no organized group and a very strong anti-Trump leaning for the campus as a whole. The results were such a shock, he said, people didn’t know how to react. He said some students were shaken in their faith in democracy, when their first presidential election produced a result so contrary to their fundamental beliefs, and some were personally devastated, worried about the election’s implications for themselves and their families.
“Some specific populations really feel threatened,” he said. “Women, undocumented students . . . Muslim students, and obviously I can continue to list out different groups. When you think how the policies could impact people’s lives on a fundamental level,” he said, students are imagining the different ways it could play out and feeling anxious about all the uncertainty. He said administrators met with student leaders this morning to offer support.
The Yale Daily News reported that scores of students met for a primal scream outside the library.
At the University of California at Davis, video posted on social media shows students marching through campus yelling, “You are not America!” “WE are America!” and “F‑‑‑ Donald Trump!” over and over.
Similar groups marched at the University of Oregon and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
At the University of Pittsburgh, a crowd of hundreds chanting “Not my president!” had an emotional exchange with a few Trump supporters. Some yelled, “No KKK no fascist USA! No Trump!” and “Whose streets?” “OUR streets!”
Berkeley students chanted “the people united will never be divided” and “not my president” as they marched.
In Washington, some college students headed to the White House. The Hoya, the student newspaper at Georgetown University, photographed a dejected-looking crowd.
At some campuses, reactions were more tearful, or worried. At Wellesley College, Clinton’s alma mater, CNN reported that thousands of women had gathered in expectation of seeing the first woman elected president, waving small wooden mallets and talking about women shattering glass ceilings. But the night turned to sobs and hugs.
School officials were quick to offer support.
At Columbia University, the campus newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, reported that some professors postponed midterm exams out of concern for students.