Students from a Jacksonville college are joining the thousands of Americans protesting the Presidential Election results.
Anyone participating in the campus-wide Illinois College protest on Friday was encouraged to leave their classrooms at 12:15 as a way to voice their frustration with the election of Donald Trump.
What started as 75 students marching around campus holding sign and chanting “Love trumps hate” quickly turned into a gathering of hundreds.
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Joyce Mann has been with Illinois College since 2013 and says she’s never seen a protest of this size on campus.
“As a liberal arts college, we support free speech and the right of students to assemble. The protest was organized by students. This is their right and choice. As someone who works here, I’m in support of students expressing themselves. We are a campus that supports students being vocal and having open discussions, even when they are opposing views,” says Mann.
Sophomore and leader of Illinois College Feminists Cassie Mueller was one the creators of the protest. Mueller hopes the movement sent a positive message to the students and staff on campus.
“We need to acknowledge the needs of these people who feel trampled on by this election. I don’t think it is alright for everyone to say the election is over and we need to stop talking about this. One of the principles America is built on is democracy and that includes protesting when people feel infringed upon. We are being peaceful with this. We want to bring attention to our needs, because the campus is already divided on this,” says Mueller.
Mueller thanked fellow Illinois College diversity organizations, like the Black Student Union, LGBT groups and Latina groups, for their support and influencing others to join.
But there was two sides to this protest…
Illinois College Junior Noah Yantis advised students, whether they be conservative or Trump supporters, to stay in class.
“Basically our angle is that Trump supporters would rather stay in class, over than the liberal protesters who would rather be outside of class and wasting their time. We’ve gotten a lot of traction with that,” says Yantis.
Even though Yantis agreed the students had a right to protest, he wasn’t afraid to express his feelings on what took place yesterday.
“I think this is a stupid idea honestly. A group of protesters on a liberal arts campus, of less than 1,000 people in central Illinois, is going to have no impact on the presidential election. It isn’t like this is a local election. I think it gives IC a bad wrap, especially being in Morgan County, one of the reddest counties in the state,” says Yantis.
Check out our WLDS News Facebook page to watch live footage of the event and hear from the students and faculty members in attendance.