The result of Tuesday’s presidential election was paramount to Student Senate’s Wednesday evening discussion, starting with students who spoke out about Donald Trump’s historical upset.
Environmental Affairs Commissioner Sarah Pinter spoke first.
“We need to understand some of your friends, classmates and constituents are genuinely terrified about what comes next for them,” Pinter said. “I only can ask that you use that passion for others and try to understand their anxieties and show our constituents and each other that we have genuine deeply-rooted concern for their wellbeing and happiness.”
Carolyn Miller, senator at-large, spoke about the importance of the 2018 election season, during which pivotal seats in the House of Representatives could transition into a Democratic majority.
“The next election is not four years from now, the next election is one year from now,” Miller said. “It’s too late for me to care who you voted for yesterday. I care what you do tomorrow.”
President Hannah Clouser spoke about diversity and inclusion specifically on campus. After Senate met, she helped host a button party to attach anti-hate pledges to pins for the button visualization initiative Senate has been creating in conjunction with the Cultural Awareness Training for Students diversity initiative.
But she also reflected on the election.
“I know that there are many people on our campus and in our nation who feel hopeless and truly scared,” Clouser said. “This is not about the election, but about the feelings of some of us. It is important to recognize that Ohio University is not exempt from these feelings.”
She encouraged those gathered to connect on a level of human dignity and be open to learning.
“We cannot change what happened in the past,” Clouser said. “But we can embody love and respect for each other in the future.”
To that effect, Clouser mentioned that the CATS taskforce had its first meeting, and the proposed spot on the president’s website has been created. The page states the university’s commitment to not accept sexism, racism, bigotry or other forms of human rights violations on its campuses.
Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones and Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Pina reacted to the election as well.
“I carved out time on Friday to do golf-cart karaoke,” Hall-Jones said, her voice choked with emotion. “The reason why I do that is not really to connect with you all, it’s to fill me back up. I just want to say how much I appreciate you all. And when you have hard times, you look to each other.”
Pina echoed her sentiments.
“Today I saw students who were really happy, and I saw students who cried as soon as they saw my face. I think there was no better place for me to be this election,” Pina said.
Student Senate meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in Walter 235.