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Savannah Rockwin

19 March 2017
People on the street

UMD Trump supporters are afraid to speak out on a liberal campus

What was it like for you on the day of the election?


How comfortable have you felt vocalizing your support for Trump on the UMD
campus?
What are the disadvantages with being a Trump supporter on this campus? Stories?
Do you feel comfortable vocalizing your support?
How do you feel about UMD becoming a sanctuary campus?
How is the classroom environment?

COLLEGE PARK, Md.- When Just Link arrived at his fraternitys mixer days before the
election, he was shocked to discover the number of Kappa Delta women who did not
attend the event because of his outward public support for Trump via several social media
platforms. On more than one occasion, Links support for Trump had conflated him as
being racist and anti-gay.

Link, a senior mechanical engineering major, noted he felt discouraged by peoples


false perception of him. Despite the fact he consequentially stopped vocalizing his
support for Trump, Link struggled to shake the negative labels associated with being pro-
Trump.

It's almost like you need to defend yourself for why you voted for him- its truly
intimidating. Liberals on campus are allowed to say whatever they want because of the
liberal nature of UMD.

He tucked away his Make America Great Again tee and fell into the silent minority.

Following the election, more than 300 students gathered on McKeldin Mall to show
support for marginalized communities who felt affected by Trump's victory. These
sentiments are not just limited to views of the parties and their policies; they account for
personal elements as well.

Going to inauguration was so refreshing because it was the first time I was able to
openly voice my support for Trump without the fear of judgment weighing down on me.
It gave me a chance to be surrounded by so many people who held the same beliefs as
me. I was finally out of the minority, said Link.

Since his inauguration, Trump has signed executive orders, a directive to begin scaling
back parts of the Affordable Care Act as well as a stop on government funding to
international organizations that provide abortions. All of which have spurred and
intensified political tension.
As polarization in American politics has been escalating for years, the gap between both
parties has further broadened foregoing animosity. Americans repugnance of the other
side may be even more potent than their loyalty to their own party.

According to the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of Republicans say the Democratic
Party makes them afraid. Fifty-five percent of Democrats feel the same way about
Republicans.

Emily Morris, a junior in Kappa Alpha Theta, said it isnt a new or helpful idea that our
country is so divided. She cites her apprehension to publicly support the Trump
administration as she fears criticism and judgment from her friends.

Omitting provisional ballots, less than 15 percent of students voted for Trump at UMD.
After the election, many students articulated their extreme stress and anxiety to
professors.

Nicole Lynch, a communications major, said that her professor, Jon Hoffman, cancelled
class the day after the election because said that he needed a day to collect himself. The
next day, Lynch recalls, Professor Hoffman used the class to discuss student fears and
concerns in regards to Trumps presidency.

Its ironic that a communications professor lacked the ability to foster a genuinely open
discussion. We knew he canceled class for personal reasons, and then he wanted us to
discuss our fears. I couldnt help but think of the students that werent afraid, but rather
relieved over the election results. Students were automatically silenced by the somber
atmosphere he fashioned.

Lynch noted as well that the lack of acknowledgment for an opposing viewpoint makes
classroom environments at UMD very one-sided.