Election sparks fears from students, reassurances from UNC

By Tenley Garrett, Jessa O’Connor, and Tim Daye

Protesters marched on Franklin Street (Jessa O'Connor/Carolina Connection)
Protesters marched on Franklin Street (Jessa O’Connor/Carolina Connection)

It’s been eleven days after the election of Donald Trump as President. Students and faculty are still trying to figure out what the new administration’s policies will mean for them.  Last night on Franklin St., hundreds of people marched, chanted and held up Friday night traffic.

“I’m feeling very threatened because of all the progress that we’ve made and I feel like we’re about to go back 60 years,” said Matt Wotus, a senior at UNC and a member of the LGBT community. “I’m about to be told again that I’m basically not a human and that I’m a second-class citizen, which nobody is.”

Protester Elyse Crystall, a UNC English professor, said she’s worried that Donald Trump’s administration will institutionalize hate. She fears attacks on immigrants, the queer community, and religious minorities.

“It’s already as if Trump has opened the genie in the bottle,” Crystall said. “People feel like they have permission to act on their most base instincts of hatred and intolerance”

Some faculty members say they have talked with many students who are fearful of the impact Donald Trump’s administration could have on the university, and on the students. At yesterday’s faculty council meeting, Chancellor Carol Folt tried to ease some of the concerns she’s been hearing in the past week.

“We’ve been asking each other, ‘What is Chapel Hill?'” Folt said. “Well, we’re the same Chapel Hill we were before the election that we are after the election.”

“Are we changing our policies on freedom of thought and expression? Are we changing policies on discrimination? No!,” Folt said.

Meanwhile, students on campus are holding open discussions to make plans for life under President-Elect Trump.

Tenley Garrett reports on one gathering with Latino students.

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