The announcement of Donald J. Trump as America’s next president is inspiring fear in some minority groups. For a few freshmen, this fear began before election night was over.
Krishaun Burns, freshman in event and hospitality management, hosted an election watch party with her friends in her dorm room at Larch Residence Hall. She, along with her friends, grew hungry; together, they decided to walk to the East Side Market, located in the Maple-Willow-Larch commons.
On the strip between the buildings, they ran into a friend and began talking among one another about the election.
“Next thing you know, people were yelling [from their windows]," Burns said. "… And this came from both Willow and Larch, people were yelling, ‘Donald Trump, make America great again!’ and then someone said, ‘f--- you n-----s!’” Burns said.
Shocked and angered, a few members of the group shouted back before they kept walking to the commons.
“We didn’t even get food … it was just like, seriously, what just happened?” Burns said.
William, freshman in biochemistry, who asked that his full name not be used, was with Burns when the event happened.
“I was infuriated,” William said. “[The feeling] was unexplainable, to be honest. … As soon as I heard it … I felt anger coursing through my body. I lost my appetite.”
The walk back to their dorm was silent. When in the dorm once more, the group began discussing as the reality finally hit them.
“I was just [thinking], ‘He hasn’t even won yet, and I’m already being being called slurs,'" Burns said. "… I’ve never had to deal with anything like that before."
In the resulting commotion and upset, a community adviser came, encouraging the group to call the ISU Police Department. A report was then filed.
On Wednesday, the previous night’s comments were not forgotten.
“The first thing I did that morning, I woke up, I cried,” Burns said. “I alternated [between being angry and crying] and then just disbelief. … At the end of the day, I was numb. I [couldn’t] even cry anymore.”
William struggled to attend class the next day.
“Honestly, when I went to bed that night, there was a part of me that considered not even going to class because I did not want confrontation to happen,” William said. “The only reason I went to class that day was because I had two classes that [I am] required to go [to.]”
The tension in the air when he walked throughout campus did not soothe him.
“The next day, on campus, it was eerily quiet. It was like everyone was just waiting for something to happen," William said. "… A lot of people couldn’t even look me in the eye."
In a predominantly white institution, with only 23.24 percent of students being U.S. multicultural and international students, it can be easy for non-white students to feel alone.
“Any student of color is outnumbered here,” William said. “The fact that people can’t feel safe [walking] is troubling.”
William said the problem doesn’t even necessarily fall on Trump; it falls on his supporters, and what they’re capable of.
“When you’re a [person of color,] you cannot [hide it,]” Burns said. “This is something that I cannot get away from. … I feel like I am stuck.”
The isolation and fear has caused what William described as a tension. Specifically, a racial tension.
“I feel like our campus definitely needs to heal, even though nothing traumatic has happened," William said. "I feel like we do need to heal before something traumatic does happen. The campus, itself needs to come back together.”
Before the election, William said he never feared racism or being called a slur. Now, he feels alienated. Still, that will not stop him.
“People that support Trump, and are blatantly trying to be racist, they need to know that we are not going anywhere,” William said. “You can try to push us out of this university, but we are not leaving. Period.”
For those who wish to support people of color in a trying time, Burns encouraged people to listen.
“Listen to us. Listen to our experiences,” Burns said. “Stop. Listen. Be an ally.”
As of Friday morning, The ISU Police Department had no updates on the case, but confirmed that there is an ongoing attempt to identify and speak with the individuals who shouted the slur.
Regardless of who that may be, William held his own message for them as well.
“For whoever called me the n-word: I’ll still be in class tomorrow,” William said.