Tag Archives: 2016 presidential election

Post-Trump, Community Comes Together ‘For Love’

It has now been over a week since Donald J. Trump was elected president, and across the country, people have both celebrated and grieved his victory. Protests and rallies have spanned 3,000 miles—from Los Angeles to here in Boston. With the country in such a divisive state, violence and hate-motivated speech have broken out on college campuses across the country.

In the last week at Boston College, students have come together in solidarity, hosted safe spaces, and rallied against Trump. Among some BC students, there has been an outcry of emotion and fear, notably in social media posts and in a rally held Monday night by Eradicate BC Racism.

The Graduate Student Association voted unanimously on Wednesday morning to internally approve the idea of turning BC into a sanctuary school. At a “sanctuary school,” undocumented students are protected by the university. This comes after Trump promised to deport 3,000 illegal immigrants in his first 100 days of office and to repeal Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA currently allows young undocumented immigrants, including undocumented college students, to apply for temporary protection from deportation.

Craig Ford, the executive director of the GSA, said he will now begin to work with other student leaders to draft a formal petition. Russell Simons, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) president and MCAS ’17, said that the idea has been presented to him in the last couple of days, but as of right now, UGBC has no official plan to push the initiative.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, Eradicate Boston College Racism released a bias, oppression, and hate crime report form. Eradicate is looking to inform allies, collect data, and direct students to support.

While student groups have lent support over the last week, there have been several alleged incidents of hate speech reported at BC. In the last week, students on both sides of the political spectrum have been verbally attacked or targeted for their views on the election.

According to Dean of Students Thomas Mogan, last Tuesday, the Office of Residential Life filed a report between two roommates who were involved in a verbal altercation. According to the report, a derogatory comment was made toward one of the roommates, which led to the incident report.

Mogan noted in an email that the Office of the Dean of Students does not normally release these reports, but because of the gravity of the situation over the past week, students must be made aware of the resources available. He encourages students who have been victims of bias-motivated intimidation or actions to report their experiences to Residential Life, the Office of the Dean of Students, or BCPD.

Over the past week, several professors have chosen to discuss the election with their classes. Eve Spangler, a sociology professor, surveyed her students to assess their feelings following last Tuesday night.

Students shared their personal experiences of hate-motivated speech, but Spangler did not feel comfortable sharing the students’ names.

“This is really different for different social classes.”

—Deborah Levenson-Estrada, sociology professor

One of her students—whom she characterized as a white, wealthy woman—lives in a Mod adjacent to an all-male Mod. On the night of the election, when the results were announced, the men in the adjacent Mod started to shout, bang on pipes, and celebrate Trump’s victory. When the female student leaned out the window and shouted “Hey, some of us are trying to sleep here,” the men replied with a derogatory comment: “Shut your f——g mouth, you c—t, Trump is president now.”

There have been other incidents, according to Spangler.

A gay student was walking across the lobby in McElroy Commons. He passed by a group of three white, male students, who watched him cross the room. As he walked by, one of the men allegedly said, “God, I’m so glad that Trump is president, ‘cause now I can say I hate f-gs.” Another added, “Yeah, f-g bashing is going to be okay now.”

This hate and discrimination do not only apply to anti-Trump supporters, however.

A male student in the Carroll School of Management, who is known among his friends as an outspoken Republican and Trump supporter, was also allegedly the victim of hate speech and threats following the election. The student chose to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

Following election night, the student said he heard three people say that if they saw him, they would “assault” him and punch him in the jaw. The student said several people also told him that they did not want to speak to him because they were upset with him for voting for Trump.

Deborah Levenson-Estrada, a sociology professor, also chose to discuss the election in class. She found that students have felt threatened based on the incidents that have occurred on and off campus. She described her students as scared, both of the future and of the discord caused by the election’s result. Levenson-Estrada did not release the names of the students for privacy reasons.

One of her students described her job in Student Services at a school in East Boston. The school has a large Latino population. The student said that at work the day after the election, a little girl came in crying because she was afraid her mother would be deported.

Another of Levenson-Estrada’s students said that their friend needs an operation that is currently covered by insurance obtained via the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. They worry that their friend will not be able to receive the necessary treatment if Trump and the Republican Congress repeal the law.

An Asian-American student in Levenson-Estrada’s class said that her mother called her on the night of the election and warned her to be careful on Wednesday morning.

“This is really different for different social classes,” Levenson-Estrada said.

About 400 students and staff came together to protest Trump at Monday’s rally. Students spoke about their feelings and experiences following the presidential election.

Rusty Cosino, MCAS ’19, whose parents are both immigrants, said that those who were thinking of leaving the country because Trump was elected are cowards. Instead of emigrating, he encouraged students to come together to support each other.

“Remember this moment and remember how you feel,” he said. “Let it drive you, don’t let it stop you.”

Armani King, MCAS ’20, spoke about how her parents called her the morning after the elections—they were scared for her safety.

“I tried to tell my mom that I’m a strong black woman,” she said.

King encouraged students to call their parents at the end of the night and let them know that they are safe. She said her parents think that she is alone, but she is not alone because she has a supportive community at BC.

As the rally was going on, however, the divide between students was still there. One student walking through O’Neill Plaza mentioned to his friend, “look at this b——t.”

Another rally was planned for Wednesday afternoon but was cancelled because the organizers, which included FACES, felt that Monday’s rally accomplished what they set out to do.

Although the rally aimed to provide students with a supportive space to talk about their feelings and experiences, students struggling to navigate the cultural climate have also turned to other resources for help.

According to Boston.com, Samaritans, a local suicide hotline that several students volunteer at through PULSE and 4Boston, received a 40 percent increase in calls on the night of the presidential election. The number of texts the hotline received doubled.

Jian Zabalerio, MCAS ’20, had her first placement at Samaritans on Saturday night. Throughout the night she received 15 calls, while on average, a student will receive around eight, she said. Three of the calls concerned the election directly, but she described callers as feeling cornered, trapped, and helpless. They felt as though the results directly affected them, she said.

Students working the hotline are not allowed to give advice, she said. It was difficult for Zabalerio to hear these emotionally charged experiences and have to hold back words of encouragement.

Craig Burns, the director of University Counseling Services (UCS), said he was not sure whether more students have been seeking therapy in response to the election. He did note that students have been more interested in talking about the election and the cultural climate during therapy sessions.

Burns explained the process for getting an appointment at UCS—students who are interested in seeing a counselor as soon as possible will get an appointment that day, while students interested in setting up a regular therapy sessions may have to wait a few days.

In addition to its normal therapy sessions, UCS is inviting students to come to a post-election conversation hour. The meetings will be held in Gasson 001 on Thursdays at noon for the rest of the semester.

Students can attend one of the meetings or all of them.

The goal of the sessions, Burns said, is to provide students with a place to talk about their reactions to the cultural climate.

“It is a space to process individuals’ responses and feelings about not just the election but the climate more broadly from an emotional and mental health perspective,” he said.

Burns said it is hard to advise students on what exactly to do or how to respond to roommates with differing viewpoints.

“There’s such a range of where people are on these issues,” he said. “I think people of good will on either side of the political issue should be able to have civil discussion about their experiences and beliefs and to keep an open mind about the validity of each other’s experiences.”

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff

Political Science Professors Talk Trump’s Next Steps

In light of Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosted an event entitled “The New President’s To-Do List,” featuring three professors who engaged in a discussion about the current political and social climate in the United States. They also added their own insights and opinions and discussed what Trump’s next steps must be.

The three speakers were Kay Schlozman, David Hopkins, and R. Shep Melnick from the political science department.

Scholzman began the panel discussion by talking about how unprecedented the election was—the Democratic nominee was the first-ever woman nominee and the Republican nominee was a real estate developer and TV personality who had no prior experience in politics.

Schlozman reminded the audience that Trump won the electoral vote, but Clinton clinched the popular vote.

“Don’t make the classic [post-election] mistake of thinking everything Clinton did was wrong and everything Trump did was right,” Schlozman said.

Schlozman said the most seismic changes are going to come because the Republicans now control the executive and legislative branches, giving the GOP appointments discretion over the judicial branch. The question, according to Schlozman, is now how that power will be converted into policy change. There’s no question that there has been a divide in the country between those who want more reform to many socio-economic issues and those who do not, she said.

Schlozman also commented on how the odds may have actually even been stacked against Clinton in the election.

“Clinton had a structural disadvantage being part of the party that was in power for the last eight years,” Schlozman said. “Once a party has had control for eight years, it’s difficult for that president’s successor in the same party to win.”

What often happens, according to Schlozman, is the party that was not in power—in this case the Republicans—has a strong desire to regain political power. This may have contributed to a seemingly strong demand by some members of the Republican Party to get its candidate in office, focusing more on their party’s representation rather than the policies of the elected.

Schlozman then closed her section by posing two hypothetical questions that seem to be on the minds of many individuals regarding the rhetoric used during the election season.

“The president’s rhetoric affects people’s lives. We’ll see how this rhetoric changes. I hope that it does. I doubt that it will.”

—R. Shep Melnick from the political science department

“What are our standards for campaign rhetoric? Is this a new normal trend for the future or a temporary departure?” Schlozman said.

Following Schlozman, Hopkins talked mainly about the Republican Party, stating that this is the first time since 2006 that the U.S. has had unified Republican control.

Hopkins also noted the current strength of the Republican Party with control of all three branches.

“The Republican Party is as strong as it’s been in our lifetime,” Hopkins said. “However, the electoral victory is not the only sign of a party’s health. We do have reason to wonder about the governing health of a party. The Republican Party is currently challenging a lot of norms that’s been made in the Republican Party.”

Trump has been challenging the U.S.’s role with respect to allies and institutions, and inviting foreign involvement into American domestic politics, Hopkins said.

Melnick, the final speaker of the night, agreed with Schlozman that this has been a highly unusual election. He noted that he does not usually take a partisan position as a professor, but this year he couldn’t help it. In spite of this, Melnick gave a couple pieces of advice for those who are upset about the Trump win.

Melnick advised the audience to not panic or engage in violent behavior. He then emphasized the importance of not questioning the legitimacy of the outcome.

The final piece of advice Melnick gave came from John Newton Mitchell, the attorney general of the United States from 1969 to 1971, under President Richard Nixon.

“Watch what [they] do, not what [they] say,” he said.

Melnick clarified that he is interested in how Trump will govern rather than what he will tweet, a reference to the president-elect’s past use of vulgar language and inaccurate information on Twitter.

The discussion closed with a question-and-answer period. One audience member asked whether Clinton’s loss has any implications for the future of women in politics and society.

Schlozman said that she has never seen a campaign where such overt misogyny was accepted. She is unsure of how much of a permanent departure this will mean for women’s involvement in politics.

Melnick also shared his opinion on the matter.

“The president’s rhetoric affects people’s lives,” Melnick said. “We’ll see how this rhetoric changes. I hope that it does. I doubt that it will.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

‘Hopefully the Errors Were Random:’ FiveThirtyEight Analyst Talks Election Polls

Harry Enten, a senior political writer and and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, spoke Tuesday about why many newspaper and data journalists were so surprised that Donald Trump won the presidential election last week. The talk was sponsored by Boston College’s communication department and co-sponsored by the American studies and African and African diaspora studies programs.

Matt Sienkiewicz, an assistant professor of communication at BC, started the discussion with Enten by directly addressing the elephant in the room—that FiveThirtyEight and other news media organizations were incorrect in their nearly universal predictions that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win the presidency.

FiveThirtyEight, one of the media sites most bullish on a Trump victory, pegged Trump’s chances of winning the election at 28.6 percent. Many other journalists and pollsters were less so—the Princeton Election Consortium put his chances at less than 1 percent.

Following Trump’s sizable victory, many commentators have lambasted pollsters for doing a poor job. Enten said he believes that such criticism is largely overblown, however, as most polling outlets only provide percentage chances, not guarantees, that a certain candidate will win an election.

While FiveThirtyEight predicted a Clinton victory as the most likely outcome, Enten said that the commonly repeated refrain that data analysts like him led the nation astray is misleading.

“Hopefully, the errors were random, and not systematic, and will work themselves out by the next time around.”

-Harry Enten, a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight

“If you flip heads twice on a coin, that happens about 25 percent of the time. I don’t think that people quite recognize how uncertain the result actually was,” Enten said. “Probabilities actually mean something.”

Enten said that the most surprising results were in Midwestern swing states which, while their residents were expected before Nov. 8 to vote for Clinton in large numbers, ended up going to Trump.

“Errors are correlated across states,” Enten said. “That is, similar states tend to vote together. When similar states have polling errors, they all tend to have polling errors, and that’s exactly what happened.”

While Clinton did receive more popular votes than Trump, the Republican candidate won a majority of electoral votes. Enten cautioned against thinking that, had the Electoral College not existed, Clinton would have won the election. It’s impossible to know what strategies would have been employed by either candidate had the conditions of the race been different, Enten said.

Most political prognosticators believed that Trump was doomed to fail due to his antagonism and lack of outreach to minority voting blocs, which now comprise a greater portion of the electorate than ever before, Enten said. Trump, however, by “running up the score” with white voters, managed to sidestep this hurdle. The low turnout among minority voters also hurt Clinton in critical voting districts.

The idea that significant American demographic shifts, such as a shrinking white population, would spell doom for the Republican Party was proven false, at least in the short run, Enten said.

“Demography is not destiny,” Enten said. “Parties adjust in the ways that they need to in order to win.”

While he said that it’s hard to pinpoint the precise reasons for the widespread underestimation of Trump’s support among voters, Enten singled out factors that might have contributed to the widespread inaccuracy of pre-election polling.

Neither Gallup nor the Pew Research Center, two of the most respected polling institutions in the world, conducted presidential polls this year, Enten said. Journalists, therefore, made predictions based on less reliable sources. The use of robo-polls, which are less accurate than traditional techniques, may have also played a role, he said.

Polling is not an exact science, and faulty predictions should not cause serious concern, Enten said.

“Hopefully, the errors were random, and not systematic, and will work themselves out by the next time around,” Enten said.

Featured Image by Liam Weir / Heights Staff

‘It’s About Love:’ Students, Professors Rally to Condemn Trump’s Rhetoric

As the sun was setting Monday evening, Boston College students, faculty, and administrators gathered on O’Neill Plaza, holding advocacy signs and chanting “Muslim rights, human rights; gay rights, human rights.”

A few hundred students, faculty, and administrators gathered to show their disapproval of President-elect Donald Trump, to share their fears and concerns about the future, and to demonstrate their support for one another during this time of uncertainty.

The rally, which was sponsored by Eradicate Boston College Racism, began at 4:30 p.m. The crowd formed an inner circle made of BC community members who felt scared or saddened because of the recent presidential election, with the outer circle made of allies.

“I know if anyone here has been feeling the way I’ve been feeling the past six days, it’s pretty paralyzing,” said Sriya Bhattacharyya, a member of Eradicate and BC ’16. “And it’s so valuable to see so many folks coming together to support one another.”

Many in the inner and outer circles held candles to grieve.

“We’re grieving our fears of losing our human rights,” she said. “We’re grieving for those who are Muslim, queer, indigenous, undocumented, black, minorities—communities all over the world who feel marginalized at this time.”

The candles also gave students a sense of hope and resistance, she said.

“As we hold onto each other and our grief, we hold up light for hope,” Bhattacharyya said. “So tonight we’re standing here together in solidarity, both grieving and fighting back.”


Led by members of Eradicate, the crowd used several chants, including, “Muslim rights, human rights; gay rights, human rights.” It also adopted several chants used at various protests throughout the country over the past week, including, “No Donald Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.”

After several minutes of chanting, the crowd took a moment of silence to reflect on all that had happened in the past week.

Eradicate held the event because it is upset with a perceived silence from BC following the elections. The group wanted students, faculty, and administrators to take a stand rather than allowing Trump’s rhetoric to go unchallenged. Over 200 faculty and staff have signed a letter to the editor in today’s Heights calling for the BC community to come together and heal any rifts caused by the election’s frequently divisive rhetoric. The Undergraduate Government of Boston College also issued a statement encouraging inclusion. Andy Boynton, the dean of the Carroll School of Management, and Gregory Kalscheur, the dean of the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, sent emails to students in their respective schools addressing the events.

Since the elections last week, various departments and student groups have been hosting discussion sessions and support groups for students who feel scared and upset from the results of the election. The rally also comes after a string of major rallies across the nation, including one on Boston Common on Friday.

Bhattacharyya stressed the importance of condemning the hateful rhetoric used throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

“It is time to commit ourselves to take a stand,” she said. “Tolerance of racism, homophobia, islamophobia, misogyny, and other words of violence and oppression is not setting the world aflame.”

The administration, Bhattacharyya said, should also take a stand to condemn the caustic rhetoric of the president-elect. Kim Ashby, a member of Eradicate and LGSOE ’17, agreed.

“Tonight is a time to stand up against the neutrality that Boston College upholds,” she said.

Eradicate did not register the rally. Because it is not a registered student group, it does not have the right to register an on-campus event.

After the moment of silence, students who wanted to speak were invited to address the crowd.

Cedrick Simmons, a member of Eradicate and GMCAS ’17, asked all attendees to continue to show support for Eradicate even after the rally, and he condemned the administration for what he sees as unnecessary punishment against students who protest on campus.

Simmons stressed the importance of defending what you believe and supporting others.

“I hope you all will volunteer not just in the classroom or not just in a moment of pain,” he said.

Chad Olle, a member of Eradicate and LGSOE ’17, asked the crowd how many people had heard someone talk about the importance of unity and civil dialogue over the past week. He said that Eradicate disagrees that all opinions are worth listening to. Instead, Eradicate wants to challenge Trump’s rhetoric and his message.

“Vague calls for unity are not enough. We need to take a stand.”

—Chad Olle, a member of Eradicate and LGSOE ’17

“If the dialogue begins with you telling me that me or somebody I love is not valued, does not matter, is not worthy of respect, does not deserve equal opportunity, then you need to go look up ‘civil’ in the dictionary,” he said. “Because where I come from, that is not how a civil conversation starts with you telling someone that they’re not valued, that they don’t matter.”

He believes that the dialogues need to be reframed, and that it is the job of administrators to take responsibility for changing these dialogues.

“Vague calls for unity are not enough,” he said. “We need to take a stand.”

The next student to take the megaphone was a white female student who said she was a survivor of sexual assault. She said she was thankful for the gathering.

“I don’t feel safe,” she said. “I have to say, we call ourselves the United States, but we are a country united by hate. And I refuse to let that happen.”

Shaun McGuffey, a professor in the sociology department, said he was proud to see everyone at the rally, but he knows that the next four years will require a lot of work.

“This is just the beginning of a very, very long fight,” he said. “And that’s what this is going to be—a fight. It’s going to be a battle.”

Like Olle, he has heard many conversations about coming together and about unity. This is not unity, though, this is oppression, he said.

“We have to name it as it is,” McGuffey said. “I refuse to have my humanity debated.”

McGuffey called on everyone to help him. Everybody needs to have a plan for what they are going to do tomorrow, he said. He encouraged students to start as soon as possible, because one of his concerns is that if they wait, they will become too tired to fight.

“The stakes are too high for you all—my family—to give up,” McGuffey said.

Students can get involved by calling their state representatives tomorrow, he said.


Conversations usually have certain formalities—when someone asks you how you are, you say you’re doing well, Shaun Glaze, LSOE ’18 said. But this week her response has been different.

She encouraged students at the rally to respond honestly to this question and to get involved as soon as possible.

Over the past week, Frank Garcia, who is the assistant manager for the Montserrat Office, has had students in his office crying and scared about the future. He said that he is just as uncertain about the next four years.

“I can’t tell you it’s going to be okay because I don’t know if it’s going to be okay,” he said.

Since he was born, Garcia has always faced discrimination, he said, so this is nothing new for him. Instead, what this election has done, in his view, is show that America is racist.

This realization, though, will allow minorities to come together as they never have before, Garcia said. All people of different races, religions, sexualities, and genders, can come together to fight for justice and equality.

“It’s about coming together as a unit and fighting as people who care about each other,” he said.

Garcia said it is okay to admit to one another that we are scared or upset. He encouraged students to stop giving each other the “BC lookaway” and to get to know one another.

“It’s about love, it’s about love, and it’s about love,” he said.

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff

Six Days After Trump, Students and Faculty Reflect

In the six days since the 2016 presidential election ended, students and faculty members have expressed differing perspectives—all primarily negative—on the election of Donald J. Trump. Many are protesting the results, some fearing the future, and others working to mend the divisions within the country. Faculty and student groups across Boston College are hosting discussions, holding open houses, and emailing students to invite them to vent, reflect, and debate.

This afternoon, Eradicate BC Racism is holding a “Stand Against Hate Rally” in the O’Neill Plaza. The rally will begin at 4:30 p.m.

According to the event’s Facebook page, the rally is meant to stand in solidarity with students who have been “victimized or continue to fear the prospect of targeted violence” following the election results.

“In the face of such hatred, neutrality is acceptance,” the event’s Facebook page said. “None of us can afford to opt out. It’s time to permit ourselves to take a stand.”

Eradicate is planning to give students the opportunity to speak at the rally as well.

Throughout the last week, over 200 faculty and staff signed a letter to the editor that encouraged students and staff to engage in discussion concerning the election. According to the letter, faculty members hope that the country’s differences in political ideals will not lead to bullying, intimidation, or intolerance.

Several academic departments held forums for students to discuss the election and sent out emails addressing the results.

On Friday, students met with a group of faculty members from the history department to discuss the Trump presidency.

“In this case, respecting all opinions is a catch-22. There is no precedent on how to approach it.”

—Allison Adair, an English professor at Boston College

At the meeting, students and faculty expressed disdain for the media’s coverage of the election. Many students felt that major outlets did not adequately inform voters, as many news sources chose to focus on covering the scandals and rhetoric of each candidate rather than their policy proposals and platforms.

Some students noted a tangible difference on campus since Wednesday. Several expressed that they now, more than ever, do not feel welcome at BC. They think that the election of Trump demonstrates that many Americans hold values that contradict the supposed foundation of the country, like discrimination against minority groups.

Andy Boynton, the dean of the Carroll School of Management, sent an email to students on Nov. 11 acknowledging the powerful emotions that many students are feeling. Boynton noted the current divide in the United States and encouraged students to use discourse, thoughtfulness, and compassion when dealing with sensitive issues.

He urged students to engage positively and compassionately with one another, regardless of the differences that many may face.

“We do so in the spirit of Boston College, which calls on each of us to search for truth, wisdom, and understanding, and to act reflectively and respectfully,” Boynton said in the email.

On Monday afternoon, Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., the dean of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, also sent an email to MCAS students regarding the election. He noted the Society of Jesus’ goal of “reconciliation based on justice, faith, and solidarity with those most in need.”

Kalscheur encouraged students to take into account other people’s feelings and emotions before passing judgement.

“In the midst of our nation’s divisions and questions, I pray that all of us in the Boston College community will be open to the call to contribute to the work of healing and reconciliation based on justice, faith, and solidarity,” he said in the email.

Allison Adair, an English professor, posted five fliers throughout Stokes South on Friday afternoon, signing her name as an ally for students feeling upset or scared from the results of the election, and encouraging students and faculty who were also allies to sign it.

Adair had heard several stories of discrimination and hostile acts toward students both on and off campus. She wanted to figure out a way to help students on a small scale. Adair was also frustrated that neither the University nor the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences released a statement on the election. In response, Adair decided to post the fliers. She also posted the fliers out of concern that many of her first-year students may not necessarily know where to go for support if they need it.

Adair did not request University permission to post the flyers around campus.

So far, Adair has not received any emails from students who found her information on the fliers.

Adair, however, has been meeting with students from her classes who want to talk about the elections. She also allowed students who were interested in talking about the elections in class to do so, but she said there is no criterion on how to handle a situation like this.

The English department is hosting a meeting this week with BC graduate student teachers to help them navigate classroom discussions about the election. It is hard to tell them what to do because many of the faculty don’t know exactly what to do, Adair said.

“In this case, respecting all opinions is a catch-22,” she said. “There is no precedent on how to approach it.”

English faculty members are also holding a discussion for English students, faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday from 12 to 2 p.m. in McGuinn 521. The department wanted to provide a space for an open discussion.

In addition, the environmental science department is hosting a forum at 4:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss how a Trump presidency may affect climate change and the environment in the coming years. John Ebel, an earth and environmental science professor, noted in his email invitation that there are no definite answers available, but the event will give students and faculty the chance to voice their opinions.

Several student groups have also reached out to students, providing spaces for people to reflect on the election and share their concerns.

The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) released a statement Sunday afternoon reaffirming the organization’s mission of creating an inclusive campus community. The statement encouraged students to contribute to the exchange of active and critical ideas, while maintaining compassion and empathy.

“Yet the right of students to feel safe on this campus and in this country is not up for debate; the right of students to feel welcomed into, and included in, our campus community is not up for debate; the right of students to discover and develop their authentic selves free from fear is not up for debate.”

UGBC executives said in a statement

UGBC also said that it is students’ responsibility to stand up to bigotry and intolerance, despite the election results. The statement stressed the Jesuit mission of being “men and women for others.”

“Yet the right of students to feel safe on this campus and in this country is not up for debate; the right of students to feel welcomed into, and included in, our campus community is not up for debate; the right of students to discover and develop their authentic selves free from fear is not up for debate,” the statement said.

The Graduate Pride Alliance also held an event titled “Here’s to Us” on Sunday afternoon. Graduate and undergraduate students who are a part of the queer and allied community met to co-process the feelings and events following the election.

In response to the hate that has followed the election, the organizers of “Here’s to Us” hoped to celebrate “identities, worth, and existence.” Attendees were provided with a safe space, filled with tea, coloring books, comfort food, and music.

On Monday at 6 p.m., the Campus Activities Board is holding an event titled “The New President’s To Do List,” in which political science professors David Hopkins, Kay Schlozman, and Shep Melnick will discuss the election. Students will have the opportunity to hear the perspective of experts and ask questions concerning the results.

Schlozman, who has been teaching a class called Parties, Elections, and America, said that she hopes the event will help students become better citizens. She hopes to take an analytical approach to assess the results.

“Obviously this is a big surprise, but it turns out there are things that follow analytical trends,” Schlozman said.

Updated: Nov. 14, 3:41 p.m.

Featured Image by Leo Confalone / Heights Staff

So What’s Your Story?

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, I, along with many of my peers, needed time to comprehend what happened—and to be honest, I’m still trying to come to terms with the results. It was hard to articulate my emotions—primal ones of grief, fear, despair, and rage—into rational thought, and top off a facade of complacency by slapping on a fake smile before heading to class, all the while being acutely aware of my identity in this country. I didn’t sleep that night—instead, I watched the sun rise from my room and saw the dawning of a new chapter in the story of America.

Soon will be the much less vitriolic elections for the members of the 2017 Heights board, marking the end of my time as features editor. Granted, the future of the free world isn’t completely dependent on The Heights elections—nevertheless, it’s a time of transition and a time of reflection.

My first lesson as a student of science that has since solidified during my time with features is that I will always be a perpetual student, always seeking knowledge and so changing the way I see the world. The lessons I’ve learned on The Heights have been magnified on a national scale, with changing demographics and emphasis on various social issues making apparent that cultural metamorphosis is in our nation’s genetic makeup, resulting in a story woven by a thousand different threads. And my personal story at Boston College, a fractal of other unique stories from individuals I have come to know through my affiliation with The Heights, is itself one of those threads that weave into the fabric of our nation.

By writing for features, I sampled all that this University had to offer by living vicariously through others, even if it was only for a 30-minute interview. I pause and think of what could have been, as I think everyone else does once in a while—how history’s ripple effects influence the stories I have come to know, which have ripple effects of their own that influence what comes next. I think of the stories I didn’t get the chance to write, the stories I could have written better, the people I would have liked to meet, and I question if I managed to reach my full potential. But after some time to reflect—and in light of recent events—I’ve come to reconcile the feeling of coming up short.

BC’s motto is “Ever to Excel.” As individual students, we’re constantly pushing our limits in our quest to learn more about ourselves. As a collective, as The Heights, that means we’re constantly changing, constantly improving, to keep up with the times and keep our readers interested.

Despite all that we do to improve the newspaper, however, I don’t think we’ll ever reach the height of our existence for which we are so named. We’re only human—we might neglect our responsibilities, we might crank out a poorly written article, we might anger a few readers. We’re not perfect, but I think that’s a good thing. Think about it—should you plateau, you will stagnate. It’s that dynamic ebb and flow of life on the Heights—whether the campus or the newspaper—that’s the lifeblood of the newspaper, much more so than the ink and toner of the office printers.

With all that in mind, I’ve accepted that I will never reach that height—I’ll never perfect my writing style, I’ll never have a definitive opinion, I’ll never write the end-all and be-all of articles. And for that I am thankful. Because every time I’ve attended an event or interviewed someone and listened to what they had to say, I became undeniably different. The stories they chose to share with me became a part of my story, just as they have become a part of the newspaper’s, and by extension, the University’s. And every time I’ve sat in front of my computer, every time I opened a new Word document, every time I wrote an article, column, or review—indeed, every time I wrote—I was not the person I once was.

I believe that writing for The Heights comments on what makes us human. Writing for The Heights is just a more formal, organized way of storytelling, really. But why do we tell stories? Why do we want to hear others’ stories? Yes, we can learn more about our society this way, but it also gives us the opportunity to learn more about ourselves, juxtaposed with the people around us. Thus, being acutely aware of that storytelling tradition, knowing how to tell a good story, and constantly striving to improve yourself are so important to be able to write effectively, especially for features.

So with each page we turn of the newspaper, we turn to a new page in our own stories, and turn to a new page in the story of The Heights that began almost 100 years ago. Looking back, I can say with confidence I have become a part of features just like those individuals who have wandered into the pages of the newspaper since its inception.

So as I watched the sun rise the first day after the election, I resolved to be unapologetically myself that day, the next day, and always, since it’s the best way to fight homogeneity. I’ve learned that learning is not confined to the classroom—rather, it is out there in a strange, wide world that I have only begun to know from my time with features. With the current state of the nation, I am blessed to have been able to grow up in a community that encourages diversity, where each person’s story deserves to be told.

Storytelling is written in our genes, and I hope that one day, I’ll be able to tell my children a good one before I tuck them into bed. But for now, in my own little world at BC, I’ll start here: what’s your story? I’d love to write about it.

Featured Image by Kelsey McGee / Heights Editor

The Heights Wants to Hear Your Post-Election Stories

This past week, the results of the 2016 presidential election have provoked incidents of hate speech and discrimination on college campuses, including at Boston College. These events often go unnoticed and unreported. The Heights wants to give a voice to students who have experienced feelings of fear, hate, or isolation. We are working on a piece assessing the campus climate and we want to hear your stories. If you are interested in speaking to The Heights about an incident you witnessed or were involved in, or if you are experiencing increased feelings of fear on campus, please email [email protected].

We understand that talking about such sensitive issues can be difficult, but we encourage students, faculty, and staff to not let these incidents be ignored. Any stories or experiences shared with The Heights will not be published without explicit permission. We are willing to make considerations for those who wish for their stories to be published anonymously.

Thank you.

A National Problem: Contrived Civility Allows Bigotry to Flourish

In the wake of a controversial presidential election, most universities across the nation will offer support to those in distress over its results, Boston College included. In addition to the resources various offices and organizations will offer, in general, there will be offerings from school officials and students alike for a chance at coming together. Like during past periods of strife, solidarity will be held up as the shining beacon of hope through which all good things emanate. As President Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert and others have already urged, good faith in our fellow human beings conquers all. Except when it doesn’t, like this week.

The American conscience dictates that hatred is negative and tolerance is positive. We strive to temper hostility, even at the price of silencing anguish. Through all our coaching many have forgotten revulsion completely. It is never a problem to find it hard to hate, until you find yourself unable to hate racism. Tolerance was once a pure disposition, until far too many people seemed to tolerate overt sexism in our politics. Institutions like BC would have you believe that all opinions are equally valid for the sake of appearing bipartisan. But what very few institutions, if any, ever have the courage to do, is to recognize the moral questions of partisanship and to take a position, even at the risk of offending those who might believe that Muslims are predisposed to sympathy of terrorists. For here all are one in legitimacy, and the cloak of togetherness has room for xenophobes.

Therein lies the root of what has become a national problem. Peace and quiet has anesthetized a generation to the ever-present fears, pain, and strife of peers who have always lived in an America that appears openly hostile to their rights and their safety. That’s the unique feature of this election: a man wielding the power of the executive branch who says, in no uncertain terms, that he’s coming after me; backing him, a massive constituency comprised of Islamophobes, anti-Semites, white nationalists, and those willing to stand beside them to advance themselves.

Now more than ever it is time to decide who we are and who our neighbors are. We can no longer afford to ignore sinister sentiments if they are mildly put. There is nothing on Earth that is worth sharing as humans if not a seething disdain for ideas that routinely produce violence and squalor for groups of people. We have run from contempt for so long that it has become the norm to go easy on the forces of evil. Only court judges that don’t hate sexual assault award three-month sentences, as in the case of Brock Turner. Only voters that don’t hate xenophobia can accept a religiously-based immigration ban, as their grandparents once accepted Japanese internment. Only university administrators that don’t hate institutional racism could so easily accept that its dismantlement relies solely on righteousness and good intent. People of color, the LGBTQ+ community, women, Muslims, and the like have for too long accepted a poisonous species of unity with their demographic counterparts and with each other. That contrived song of civility that we dance to does nothing to challenge Western culture’s biggest moral downfall, but instead allows bigotry to incubate and continue embodying who we collectively are. I encourage everyone, in the wake of a potentially volatile period of history, to demand of all their relations a joint conspiracy against the shameful tradition of butchering the livelihoods, bodies, and dignity of marginalized groups. What we need isn’t a binge of togetherness. We need a purge—to send the deplorable in exile.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Following Trump Victory, a Somber Mood on Campus

Thick gray clouds loomed over Boston College Wednesday morning as students walked to class. Some students stopped to hug friends and exchange brief words of empathy and support, but most walked in silence.

The somber mood on campus followed the announcement early Wednesday morning that Republican nominee Donald J. Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Trump secured 279 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 228, as of late Wednesday night. The results shocked BC students and the rest of the nation. Most of the polls leading up to Nov. 8 predicted Clinton would win by a large margin.

Following the announcement, several professors cancelled classes. Many more students didn’t attend classes on Wednesday. Professors who did hold class invited students to engage in conversation about the election rather than discuss the day’s material. Most of these conversations elicited tears of disappointment, fear, and concern.

Resident directors also sent emails to their residents, inviting them to come talk with them. The emails also encouraged students seeking help to visit the Office of the Dean of Students, the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center, and University Counseling Services.

The Women’s Center, which has office hours Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., welcomed students throughout the day Wednesday who were in search of a place to talk about and reflect on the results of the election.

Katie Dalton, the director of the Women’s Center, said that she invited students to the center on Wednesday for food and discussion because she knew students would have a strong reaction to the results of the election.

“The election has carried a lot of hostility and divisiveness just in the way in which the rhetoric was formed around it,” she said. “We felt that our students needed a place to process it.”

Dalton had expected the Center to host a day of celebration after Clinton was elected the first female president of the United States. But after the unexpected win by Trump, feelings on Wednesday were not that of celebration.

“The overall tone is a tone of disbelief, a tone of anger, and a tone of anxiety,” she said. “I think we can all make assumptions about what we think a Trump presidency will look like, but we don’t really know. I think that unknown comes with a lot of anxiety.”

Even though Clinton’s loss meant that the Center would no longer be holding a day of celebration, Dalton still welcomed students into the office.

“As Clinton said, ‘We’re stronger together,’ so I emailed my staff and asked if we could get together and start to grapple with these results and be there for each other,” she said.

When the office opened around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, the first students to arrive were graduate students. They were very quiet, Dalton said, and no one spoke because no one knew what to say. But as more undergraduates came to the office, the conversation picked up. Students spoke in small groups and watched the various speeches aired Wednesday morning, including one by Clinton and one by President Barack Obama.

Dalton understands that not all students on BC’s campus have the same political views. She wanted to bring students together so that they might come to terms with the results of the election and then learn how to talk with roommates and friends who have differing political stances.

“The election has carried a lot of hostility and divisiveness just in the way in which the rhetoric was formed around it,” she said. “We felt that our students needed a place to process it.”

Katie Dalton, Director of the Women’s Center

“This isn’t a time where we just cut that off and create new friendships or form new rooming situations,” she said. “We really need to be able to mourn ourselves so that we’re in a place where we can come together.”

Dalton noted that not all BC students voted for or supported Clinton.

“The best part of our country is that we can vote and we have the free will to be able to do that, so we also need to be able to recognize that not all students are feeling the same way,” she said. “And how do they feel being in spaces where perhaps they can’t identify as Trump supporters?”

The Women’s Center will continue to hold its normal office hours throughout the week with the understanding that students will want to come in to talk about their reactions to the election.

Caroline Davis, assistant dean for student outreach and support in the Office of the Dean of Students, held an open house for students in the conference room in the office Wednesday afternoon. She initially invited members of the LGBTQ community to engage in dialogue but welcomed all BC students and faculty. She hoped to give students a place to talk about their reactions to the elections.

“It’s more about affirming that students have a safe space on campus to talk about whatever they need to talk about,” Davis said.

Students and faculty talked among each other in small groups. Some students in the room had tears in their eyes.

Jupiter Yao, a third-year student studying abroad from Peking University, said he would have voted for Clinton if he had the right to vote. He believes that Trump won because he is not part of the political elite, and he was more honest and candid during the campaign. He does not see Trump’s win as troubling.

“It’s just fine—it’s not a disaster,” Yao said.

He does see that students are upset with the results. But no matter who you voted for or who you wanted to win, he said, Americans should still be thankful for their right to choose their leader.

“You still have a very good, solid, strong democracy,” he said.

Cora Ives, MCAS ’17, had a different point of view on the election. She was disappointed in Americans and unimpressed with the new president of the U.S.

“Do you already have ‘disgusting?’” she asked in reference to other BC students’ reactions to Trump winning the election.

Many students at the LGBTQ open house on Wednesday did not want to comment on their feelings on the results of the election.

In order to support continued conversation on the elections, Davis said she will host support groups and other programmings, which she already hosts each week, throughout the week.

The Undergraduate Government of Boston College will also hold events throughout the week. On Wednesday night, the Diversity and Inclusion Programming Board of UGBC held a “Recovery and Processing” event to provide a space for students to take a step back and reflect on what a Trump win means for the country.

Students of all backgrounds came together in Higgins 310 to meditate, color, sip tea, and vent. Ives, president of the Buddhist club at BC, held a group meditation for students. Then, Collin Pratt, the director of Diversity and Inclusion and MCAS ’17, led a group examen for students to think deeply about what affects them in today’s political age.

Pratt said it was important for students to have a safe space on campus to express their feelings. By meditating, Pratt hoped students would become grounded in the present.

Before leaving, students were asked to write down affirmations and swap them with each other to confirm each other’s importance in society, regardless of the election results.

Throughout Trump’s campaign, the president-elect made derogatory statements toward people of color, Muslims, and women. Pratt felt it was necessary for Diversity and Inclusion, a group on campus dedicated to representing marginalized groups, to have a space for students to share their frustrations.

“I think to see him win has a lot of people in very dire straits about the future of this country and their livelihood within it,” Pratt said.

“The election has carried a lot of hostility and divisiveness just in the way in which the rhetoric was formed around it,” she said. “We felt that our students needed a place to process it.”

Nathan Dahlen, member of the Eagle Political Society

Pratt said that his conversations with students have ranged from angry to disgust to shock. He stressed, however, that the work that college students are doing is vital for future elections.

“We have the ability to speak on the national stage,” Pratt said. “This election showed that we had the responsibility to step up and speak out and we didn’t do that. It was really to the detriment of the rest of the country.”

The BC Eagle Political Society (EPS) held a discussion Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in Stokes 103N. Like so many other events, it aimed to provide students with a space to talk about their reactions to the election. There were 10 students in attendance, all of whom were members of EPS. The students discussed Trump’s plans for his first 100 days in office and forecasted which of Trump’s policies would pass the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“Really, we are just trying to help each other see a way forward for the country,” Nathan Dahlen, member of EPS and MCAS ’17, said.

UGBC will host an open house Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in its offices in Carney. The event is open to all students who want to share their thoughts with one another about the election, Meredith McCaffrey, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’17, said.

Matt Sanborn, co-president of the BC Democrats and MCAS ‘17, does not believe that Trump can accomplish all that he claims he can as president. When the American people realize Trump’s inabilities, he said, the Democrats will welcome them with open arms.

Although Clinton did not win the election, he said, the Democrats will continue to work toward achieving their goals.

“The country may have elected the most sinister man to ever run for president, but Democrats are the ultimate winners,” Sanborn said. “Progressivism faces an uphill battle, but we’ve always known this. Tonight’s results just mean working harder than ever before these next few years to realize our goals.”

Mariella Rutigliano, president of the College Republicans and MCAS ‘17, said that Trump’s election shows the country’s desire to remove the political elite and return to a smaller, transparent, and accountable government.

“The people have spoken and this election is proof that our democracy is alive and well,” Rutigliano said. “What we saw unfold tonight was unpredicted and unthinkable. This victory proves that Trump’s message and appeal was grossly underestimated throughout his campaign.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor