When walking to class the morning after Election Day, UW-Madison sophomore Ali Khan said he felt like someone close to him passed away.
In his classes Wednesday, classmates of Khan were laughing about the election results— a perspective wildly different than his own, as he has friends who “are fearing for what is going to happen to them.”
“It felt like it only affected you, and I feel like today, these students are not just historically marginalized, but feel marginalized today," Khan said.
Many students from groups that Donald Trump regularly targeted during his campaign echoed Khan’s feelings. UW-Madison senior L. Malik Anderson, co-founder and president of Black Journalists Association, said he felt the same worry when the final piece of the electoral puzzle fell into place for Trump.
“I was terrified for everyone who represents those marginalized identities. You’re talking about people of color, women, people who fall into the LGBTQ spectrum, Muslims,” Anderson said. “It was almost like we rewinded back to a decade that I've never had to live before.”
Throughout Trump’s presidential campaign, he made numerous remarks that drew outrage from many Americans.
In the second debate, Trump said stop and frisk “worked very well” in New York City, though the practice came under questioning for it’s use of racial profiling. When first announcing his run for presidency, Trump said Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and were “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime.”
Throughout his campaign, Trump came under fire for his treatment of women. In a leaked video, Trump was heard bragging about being able to sexually assault women. Trump has proposed a temporary ban from the U.S. for Muslim immigrants, “until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses.”
Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, championed a bill while he was governor of Indiana which would allow businesses to deny services to LGBT individuals. Pence argued the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 2013, preserved the religious rights of Indiana residents.
“People don't get that this is more than just an election for some people,” Anderson said. “It's about people's identities and lives being under attack and not feeling safe anymore. I don't know what to expect after January. I don't know if I’ll be safe walking outside of my home.”
Wisconsin chooses Trump
The victory also strikes closer to home for many students, as Trump won Wisconsin at roughly 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, a victory that virtually sealed the election for Trump. Being in a state that supports Trump has caused some unrest for students, also.
“You never know who you could be walking with who don’t agree with you and don’t want you to be in this space,” UW-Madison freshman and member of the Muslim Student Association Zahiah Hammad said. “You don’t really feel welcomed at this school. It's hard … people were asking if they should walk me home, just because they know this campus may not be the safest place for a certain type of people.”
Because of how “sad and scared” many of the students were following Trump’s victory, Gabe Javier, director of the LGBT Campus Center and Multicultural Student Center, said he prioritized providing a space that student could come together in.
The MSC opened their space on the second floor of the Red Gym for students to discuss their feelings regarding the election or to simply relax. The MSA held also a group gathering there to create community following Trump’s victory.
“I think it's a space people should know that they can come to and process however it is that they need to, it's open for that,” Javier said. “It's understandable that it can be hard to be in other spaces of campus, especially with homecoming this weekend. this can be a place for people to take a break and other spots in the red gym.”
Javier said the MSC’s resources with counselors from UHS are flexible, so he could ensure they would be available for students, as the election results shocked many students who expected Clinton to win the election handily. Most pre-election polls favored Clinton’s chances in winning the White House.
UW-Madison political science professor and expert on polling David Canon said this election was unprecedented because all the polls were remarkably off, including the most recent Marquette poll, which is usually accurate in Wisconsin.
He said Trump was successful among individuals who had not decided to vote according to polls issued one week before Election Day, most likely because of FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of the reopened investigation into Clinton’s emails.
After Election Day
Students agreed that their advocacy cannot stop following Clinton’s loss.
“The work starts now for us,” Hammad said. “We need to stay together and we need to push forward I think is the best we can do, and as young people especially our work means something. This might be a lesson to people in America and I think we need to make the best of it.”
Khan, chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, said he is going to continue to push for Associated Students of Madison to represent and help these different marginalized communities on campus. In addition, his committee is working on some campaigns to help improve the campus climate.
Javier said he thinks the next step is to continue being present for his colleagues and students that are feeling hurt.
Javier said these communities should continue to “push our white allies to show support for people of color and our straight allies to show support for the LGBTQ community, not just when there is an incident or emergency, but to really integrate that into their practice.”