Emotions ran high in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on Monday during a meeting of protesters who demonstrated against Republican presidential candidates during Saturday’s Cy-Hawk tailgate.
The demonstration took place in the parking lot outside of Jack Trice Stadium early Saturday afternoon. It was aimed at U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, as well as Gov. Scott Walker and especially Donald Trump for remarks made about immigration issues.
“The best way for us to show our presence was in a peaceful way,” said Maria Alcivar, ISU graduate student in human development and family studies.
She was pivotal in planning the protest.
“After I heard Trump was coming to the game … I decided to reach out and start a demonstration,” Alcivar said.
The protesters held signs and stood in a group several feet away from where the presidential candidates were to make their visits, she said. The protest was completely silent, except for some commands for onlookers to not touch protesters or their signs.
“It was hostile as soon as we arrived,” Alcivar said. “A woman physically grabbed my face.”
Kenyatta Shamburger, director of Multicultural Student Affairs and assistant dean of students, claims his pride for the protestors.
“I want to commend those persons that were [at the protest], and stood their ground,” Shamberger said.
The Sun Room was almost full throughout the meeting, even though participants came and went throughout the discussion.
The meeting had two main formats — a small-group discussion among the crowd members and a larger discussion among individual speakers and the room at large.
“I was a victim of a defacing of my poster,” said Jovani Rubio, senior in mechanical engineering and a co-leader of the demonstration.
The defacing was caught on a phone video.
“I knew this video had gone viral," Rubio said. "I honestly didn’t feel safe walking to class this morning because people knew it was me in the video.”
Alcivar and Rubio are not strangers to public protests, but many of the protesters did not know what to expect when they went to the tailgate.
Jasmin Cabrera, junior in psychology, did not expect the reactions she got from the crowd Saturday.
“Honestly, I had never been in an environment like that before,” she said. “I was scared, it was overwhelming.”
Cabrera said the crowd around the protesters jeered and made inflammatory comments.
Rubio and Alcivar said some crowd members, mostly white adults, were shouting phrases that they described as racist in nature.
“They said stuff like, ‘Go back to Mexico,’ and ‘Why don’t you speak the right language?’” Alcivar said. The Ecuadorian-American pointed out that many protesters were not from Mexico.
Rubio expressed disappointment in ISU President Steven Leath. He was not happy with the president for posing, smiling and giving a thumbs-up in a picture with Donald Trump, who has made controversial comments on immigration policy and Latinos.
“What [Leath] did was wrong,” Jovani said.
Throughout the late afternoon, protesters and their peers stood and gave their opinions of and experiences with immigration, discrimination and race in the U.S. and at Iowa State.
“The reason I organized this protest was because I saw many people talking and complaining about Trump,” Alcivar said.
She said her goal was to get many people to the demonstration, and to bring people from different ethnicities and backgrounds together around a common issue.
“I just wanted to bring people together, no matter what they look like or where they’re from,” Alcivar said.