The ascendancy of Penn’s first graduate to the White House was met on campus with wide-eyed disbelief on Wednesday as the results sunk in for many students: Donald J. Trump is the president-elect of the United States.
Prior to the election, groups at Penn gave mixed reactions to Trump’s provocative proposals, ranging from oppositional art protests, advocacy groups such as the short-lived Penn for Trump and deliberate neutrality from the administration and College Republicans. Once it was apparent that Trump had won, some political groups were pleased with Tuesday’s outcome while others were incited to action.
Penn Democrats released an online statement on its , lamenting the losses of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senatorial candidate Katie McGinty. They remained indignant toward the outcome, saying, “We are hurting because the values that America holds dearest--tolerance, love, inclusion--were ignored by voters all over this country. Women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, immigrants, and people with disabilities were disregarded.”
At the end of its statement, Penn Democrats announced its intention to fight the victimization of minorities, and advertised a Solidarity Walk Wednesday evening, in which hundreds of people participated. They helped organize with sexual assault advocacy groups, the United Minorities Council and Student Sustainability Association at Penn.
College Republicans President and College and Wharton senior Jennifer Knesbach maintained her group’s neutrality. They after recordings of him bragging about committing sexual assault were made public. She spoke positively of incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) Senate victory, whom the College Republicans supported.
“There has been a lot of mixed views within the club,” she said. “A lot of members were really unhappy today and a lot of our members were happy and excited about Trump’s win. In regards to the Senate races, we worked really hard for Pat Toomey so we are all definitely really happy with his win.”
College sophomore John Matthews provided a statement on behalf of Penn Students for a Democratic Society, decrying Trump’s behavior and impugning the Democratic Party for contributing to his electoral victory.
“[SDS] condemns the racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic, Islamophobic rhetoric of Donald Trump. We criticize the Democratic Party for pushing a neoliberal agenda and failing to field a candidate who represents the interests of the working class and oppressed,” the statement said.
SDS will also hold its own event on Friday to protest a Trump presidency, inviting students “to join us in building people’s power to combat right-wing demagoguery.”
College senior Sarah Simon, the president of the Government and Politics Association, shared plans to have a “Post-Election Group Therapy Session,” inviting people, devastated or ecstatic, to express their opinions and concerns.
She maintained the nonpartisan group’s neutral stance on the election, but did not understate the race’s significance.
“We are going to need to understand the societal forces that led nearly half the nation to support Donald Trump,” she said. “It is not something we can dismiss as out of hand if we want to move forward from this.”
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