Nov. 8 marked one year since the country’s political fault lines split into deep fractures and President Trump was elected to office. Through activism and protest, most MSU Denver students are learning to cope with their frustration at the current political situation.
“I have come to accept reality right now. I believe there’s really nothing at this moment I can do but hope that Trump makes the right decisions and surrounds himself with the right people that will help him make the right decisions,” said Adetilewa Awosanya, MSU Denver Student Government Assembly Senator.
Awosanya is a part of the Black Student Alliance and the African Student Union. She said the students in the BSA aren’t scared, but they are nervous. The source of their anxiety comes from the increased visibility of white supremacy groups around the country.
“Denver’s not excluded from having such beliefs,” Awosanya said.
Awosanya added that she fears what could happen if white supremacist elements did appear on campus. However, she is comforted by President Janine Davidson’s attention to the the issue and believes Davidson has students’ best interests in mind.
MSU Denver student and RISE president Angelica Prisciliano said that Trump’s election threw the undocumented student community at MSU Denver into confusion.
“It was mostly the uncertainty of what he wanted to do as far as immigration goes and the sense of hopelessness that was happening in our community,” Prisciliano said.
RISE is a student organization dedicated to serving the undocumented and refugee population on campus.
Although DACA’s termination did not affect Prisciliano directly, she did see first hand what impact the program’s end had on the undocumented community here at MSU Denver. She said that the immigrant, Muslim and LGBTQ community is attacked everyday by both policy and executive order. Prisciliano is angry that the country let it go that far.
“It has sparked conversation and it has sparked a lot of activism in people that otherwise wouldn’t have been involved. If something good has come out of this, it’s that we’re all coming together, finally, in all of our imperfections, are working together to defeat this thing that’s going on,” she said.
However, not all students share the doom and gloom view of the President’s administration.
“I’m semi-optimistic. I think that the President has done some things that I’m not overly happy with. Overall, I think that the President’s policies and the way we’re moving forward with tax reform in this country is going well,” said William Overton, an MSU Denver student about Trump.
Overton is satisfied with economic growth made under the Trump administration to date. He also said he approves how gun regulations were revisited with regards to bump stocks. Despite Overton’s optimistic outlook, there was also room for improvement from the President. Diplomacy, upholding DACA and reforming immigration, and Trump’s tweet habits were things that could be made better.
Although Overton said he noticed that tension on campus was high due to President Trump’s presence in the White House, he did say he was disturbed by the desire of some students to see Trump fail. Trump is president, he said, and we have to move forward and hope he does well.
Although progressive students are united in their dislike of President Trump, that attitude can have negative consequences for those who don’t share that worldview.
“When you’re a minority student that has an opposite opinion than most minority students, or just the – I’ve had 34 people vs. one before,” Overton said. “It does kind of affect you. It doesn’t stifle my opinion but it does make you think twice before you open your mouth sometimes.”