The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Administration provides watch party for presidential inaguration and a safe space


The Center for Civic Engagement sponsored a watch party for the presidential inauguration on Friday, followed by the ACT!2017 event — where student organizations engaged the UR community in their respective central causes.

More than 20 students gathered in the Alice Haynes room to watch as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. In his inaugural address President Trump called for unity across the nation.

“When America is united, America is totally unstoppable,” he said.

Although the students were fairly silent as they watched the ceremony, some held an optimistic view towards the new administration.

“I hope he will do a good job. Now I feel like it’s really beginning,” Thin Yee Mon Su, WC '19, said. 

The ACT!2017 event took place on the third floor of the Tyler Haynes Commons following the watch party. There, eight student organizations including Spiders for Spiders, the Spanish and Latino Student Alliance (SALSA) and the College Democrats, set up tables to speak with students about their causes.

“Students should become more involved in local politics and not just presidential elections,” first-year member of the College Democrats, Joanna Hejl, said. Her group encouraged students to sign a petition to place Ralph Northam on Virginia’s Governor ballot.

Student leaders from SALSA also set up a table and encouraged participants to make worry dolls based off the Guatemalan tradition that the dolls help to relieve worries before one goes to sleep.

ACT!2017 concluded the event with a discussion sponsored by the Multicultural Student Solidarity Network (MSSN). The organization discussed its proposal to create a multicultural student space on campus.

“Part of the reason why we had this meeting today is to create a safe space for students,” co-president of MSSN Michael Johnson said.

Johnson also said that MSSN would continue planning for the multicultural student space throughout the rest of the academic year, until the group could produce a concrete proposal, outlining what they would like the space to look like.

MSSN also collaborated with WILL* and Students Creating Opportunities, Pride and Equality (SCOPE) to host the final inauguration-related event on campus Friday evening. There, the groups came together to create a safe space in the Westhampton Deanery living room for students who felt marginalized or discouraged by the changing presidential administrations. 

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