VCU Students Speak Out on Election 2016

VCU students had plenty to say about the 2016 election and results. On Nov. 8, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. Even though his election was troubling to a majority of students, many decided to take stands in their own unique ways.

On Nov. 9, the morning after the election, students Adriana Bos and Paige Bugg were among the few attempting to cheer up the student body. They gave out free hugs to any student who needed one at the Compass.

"It started off with us being really emotional after the election. As the votes started coming in, we were down. We woke up pretty emotional so we wanted to spread a little positivity. Personally, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever lived through and experienced. We wanted to do whatever we could do to make a difference, even if it’s just here at VCU," Bos said.

Kaelie James, a VCU alumni, also made it to the Compass that morning to voice her concern.

"I am really devastated by the past 24 hours. I’ve seen a lot of hate. I consider myself a minority woman, an artist. I wanted to bring people together and illuminate the fact that we’re stronger together in this really scary time. I’m just trying to gather positive vibes," James said. 

More students showed up at the Compass and in front of the library as the day grew to hold up their messages. This was the beginning of a night full of activities. Students of all races and organizations came together to have their voice heard as one. 

There were hundreds of people walking through the Compass that afternoon, and it made for a lot of political conversation among the student body. It was the only topic that could be heard around campus. 

"I'm disappointed and concerned. I'm anxious, though, to see what'll go down these next four years," Parker Schrum said.

VCU students expressed similar concerns with the 2016 election results.

"The election was a mess. You can see the division between the U.S. People don’t see that people of color, gay and transgender have horrible views of America right now. It’s terrifying. We have to wake up to texts from people and calm down our friends. Now we have to be careful going outside. I don’t think I’ve lost hope though. I have hope for something better. I don’t want this to be the second phase of Anne Frank being in an attic again. There is some hope there, though, and whatever there is I’m here to help people with their protest," Wilber Hernandez said. 

Vanessa Huaman thought the election was rigged. 

“Although the popular vote was for Hillary, the electoral college picked Trump. I can’t see myself in this nation any longer. I’m undocumented. Children of immigrants are able to work, drive and go to school and all of that can get taken away from me. All my life I thought this country was great, but now I see the people’s true colors," Huaman said.

Students began to gather in larger groups to talk about the election. A silent protest began around 9 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Compass. 

Later on, around 11 p.m., a much louder group of protesters arrived at the Compass and onto the steps of the library door. Police arrived to the scene.

Students and Richmonders gathered in even larger quantities to protest against Trump. Chants of "f*ck Donald Trump" were repeated over and over again. The protest lasted a few hours and they marched around the VCU campus and its surrounding area. These protesters made it down Monroe Park, Broad Street as well as I-95. 

All photos by Jasmine Medrano-Guevara