Originally written on November 9.
The day after Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of The United States, Northwestern’s Campus Inclusion and Community Office hosted a safe space on campus for students in distress.
Over 100 people came to Parkes Hall where CIC and campus ministries offered students a post-election community healing space for those “looking to talk, process, or just be in community with others.”
“The first thing that anyone said to each was ‘are you ok?’ and instantly you just gave them a hug, which was really supportive and loving, but at the same time the fact that we’re just acknowledging that this happened, we’re all so much in shock and so heartbroken,” said N.U. sophomore Megan Rohrer, 19.
Most students started the day confident of a Clinton victory, making the defeat more difficult to accept and process.
“It’s been incredibly quiet on campus and almost like everyone is having the same feeling … this morning it almost felt like we just had some kind of natural disaster, we were all just experiencing so much shock, and it was like nothing I’ve ever experience before,” Rohrer said.
Students from different backgrounds broke into smaller groups to share their stories and feelings of fear and sadness. Certain issues overlapped such as Trump’s rhetoric, perceived by many to be racist, his immigration policies and his potential choices for the Supreme Court.
“I’m Muslim and I know not all of Trump’s supporters aren’t racist or against Muslims or Islam but I feel like when they vote for someone who is they overlook the fact that he’s been spewing all this hateful rhetoric and feel that as long as he’s going to make some changes to government it’s ok and I’m just not alright with that,” said N.U. sophomore Jaafar Zaidi, 19.
Many hugged, cried and consoled one another as the night went on. Finally, students took to the mic to share their feelings.
“As young people we find strength in numbers and strength in each other so having us all together I think is really important to have this time to share because ignoring emotions is the same as invalidating them,” said N.U. senior Carmen Mackins, 21.
A number of student life organizations emailed the community offering a variety of safe spaces and extended office hours for support.
“I think safe spaces [are a] great idea because seeing Facebook posts and talking to friends, a lot of people definitely needed it and this is a great opportunity for them to come out and talk to people who are in the same situation but may not want to say it in public and are afraid to,” Zaidi said.