UB students gather in protest against Donald Trump’s presidency

UB students gather in protest


UB students gathered on Wednesday to build a “wall of hate.”

Students wrote, “End Transphobia” and “We’re all equal” on cardboard boxes and stacked them on top of one of another to create this five-foot wall. One by one, students knocked the boxes down, tearing down the wall they feel President-elect Donald Trump has created.

Maureen VanDeusen, a UB student and protest leader, organized a gathering on the North Campus Promenade once she heard Trump had been elected. She said she felt shocked and scared and wanted to do something to voice her rights. She immediately reached out to her friends and wanted to get as many people together to show they do not accept Trump’s ideals.

The protest continued as a sit-in in the Student Union Lobby for an hour. University police and faculty members supervised the protest of roughly 60 students.

UPD Deputy Chief Joshua Sticht said this follows in a tradition of peaceful protests at UB. He said the protest, “went off without a hitch” and no one did anything disrespectful.

There have been problems at other SUNY schools regarding counter protesters. However, there have been no problems at UB. Sticht said UPD presence will ensure that police won’t be “caught off guard” in case there is a problem.

Makenzie DePetrillo, a junior health and human sciences major, said it felt good to knock down the boxes.

DePetrillo wrote “we’ll never be free until we’re equal” on the boxes.

“I think that’s really indicative of Trump’s whole presidency,” DePetrillo said. “A lot of it is based in white supremacy. It’s based in xenophobia. It’s based in we don’t want different people in our country but I think that’s what we need in our country – more diversity. I’m just really pissed about this election.”

DePetrillo also wrote on the boxes, “Protect all of your citizens” and said it wouldn’t feel right to stay silent as a member of the LGBTQ community.

“At the same time I know it’s not all I’m going to do [to protest] and I think that UB students are a diverse bunch and I know there are more people standing right here and I think this is only step one,” DePetrillo aid.

Amy O’Leary, a junior psychology major, is worried that her rights will diminish in light of a Trump presidency.

“I understand that Trump won fair and square but my rights are at risk as a trans woman as well as the fact that we made a lot of progress and today is the first day of the reversal of that progress and we’re going to have to be loud and proud if we’re going to keep things where they are right now,” O’Leary said.

Some students feel their lives are in danger because of Trump’s presidency.

Pierce Whitaker, a sophomore biomedical sciences major, thinks Trump’s presidency is a “huge step back” for America. He thinks Trump’s win is detrimental and terrifying for minorities.

“I knew so many people who were so scared last night and woke up this morning terrified of who’s running our country and I don’t think that’s how it should be whatsoever,” Whitaker said.

Andrew Meyer, a junior business administration major, heard about the protest over Facebook and came out because he believes Trump’s rhetoric isn’t acceptable.

“[Trump] is filled with hate. He’s going to divide the country with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, he’s supported by the KKK, he’s not for women’s rights, he’s anti-abortion,” Meyer said. “He’s anti-everything the U.S. stands for and we’re going to be set back by 50 years since he’s president.”

Meyer said he was in shock and sick to his stomach when he heard Trump won. He was expecting Clinton to win.

“I still think America was stupid enough to vote for an asshole like him,” he said.

Meyer mentioned that Tuesday marked the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the “Night of Broken Glass” -- when Nazis invaded Germany and set off “the rise of Hitler.”

Jacob Leale, a senior environmental geoscience major, left his class early because he heard a sit-in was going on. He played “Imagine” by John Lennon at the protest and other songs directed to peace and love.

“If there’s any goal, love does persevere through anything else,” Leale said.

Leale thinks America is in for an “interesting ride.”

“Trump is a wildcard. I don’t think you’re going to be able to predict what he’s going to do,” Leale said. “Surprisingly enough, even though I’m not pro-Trump, it’s almost like an old American tactic in the military… No one really understands what he’s doing. I think in a way whatever he wants to do is going to be kind of effective.”

Hannah Stein is a senior news editor and can be reached at hannah.stein@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter at @HannahJStein.