Friday morning’s cool breeze may have offered a chilly walk to class for many, but it did nothing to calm the fire in the voices of those who spoke during the protest dubbed “Not My President” Friday.
The hour-and-a-half long protest took place at the “Bordering Crossing” statue located in front of MacKay Hall in the south courtyard. Hundreds of students gathered around the statue to vocalize their responses about President-elect Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday night.
“We are angry, frustrated and confused,” said Kaleb Vanfosson, sophomore in political science and president of the Young Democratic Socialists student organization. “[We’re] just looking to fight against the bigotry that is now taking over our government.”
Vanfosson went on to state that Trump’s victory left him feeling afraid and grieving.
“It’s time to rage against the machine and get organized,” Vanfosson said. “The main thing is organizing and making a movement out of this thing.”
Vanfosson is no stranger to controversy, having been escorted off of a stage at a Clinton rally in early November.
Apple Amos, sophomore studying chemistry, led the proceedings wielding a megaphone and an unbreakable conviction. Amos opened the event with guidelines for the protesters to follow as the protest proceeded.
“[Trump] will be in office for four years,” Amos stated in her opening dialogue. “That’s four years of action that we need to be taking.”
Itzel Zuniga was the next individual to speak. Zuniga began with a moment of silence for individuals who have lost their lives this year as a result of hate crimes and police brutality.
“We are here because white supremacy is real and we will not sugar coat it,” Zuniga said after the silence. “Now is not to tell marginalized people that we are being paranoid.”
Students approached the statue wielding homemade signs displaying their disdain for the president-elect. Others arrived carrying the Mexican flag. One of them was Rachel Ramirez, senior in graphic design.
“[I came] to show that I don’t support someone who wants to send my undocumented family back to a country they worked so hard to leave,” Ramirez said.
One Mexican American student said people say "go back to your country." He asked do they say it "for joy, for fun or because you mean it?" pic.twitter.com/qC9eotzLjj— Emily Barske (@emilybarske) November 11, 2016
Martino Harmon, senior vice president for student affairs, also was in attendance.
“Iowa States supports freedom of expression, no matter what it is,” Harmon said. “It’s not our position to think about not supporting [the protest].”
Faculty Senate pres. speaking. Said he is so proud of the "peaceable assembly." Says he stands behind pursuing education without oppression pic.twitter.com/dynAR6fumG— Emily Barske (@emilybarske) November 11, 2016
Deafening chants of “Not my president!” and “F--k Donald Trump” rang periodically throughout the protest. Trump supporterss stood watch from a distance. Mitchel Fulk, sophomore in marketing, stood among the protesters while holding a Trump/Pence sign above his shoulders.
“I have no problem with the rally and I think it’s great for America,” Fulk said. “I love protests like this because it opens a dialogue in America about key issues.”
The protesters chanted “Si se puede” and “We reject the president-elect” as they marched from Mackay to Beardshear Hall on Friday to confront Iowa State President Steven Leath. Vanfosson led the charge.
Vanfosson said the goal was to deliver letters to Leath regarding his connection to Bruce Rastetter, president of the Board of Regents of Iowa. Vanfosson believed that Trump will eventually hire Rastetter at a staff member.
The protesters were met by Leath, who happened to be on the first floor with Thomas Hill, former vice president for student affairs, and Harmon.
What started as a trade of jabs among Vanfosson, Leath and Hill, ended in a peaceful dialogue among the students, Leath, Hill and Harmon.
“The country elected Donald Trump as President, and we can’t do a lot about democratic process,” Hill said to the group. “President [Leath] can say anything right now. That won’t change anything overnight.”
Hill went on to propose meetings with Leath, Harmon, himself and students concerned with current events. Leath and Harmon agreed.
“There needs to be a follow-up to this,” Hill said. “The sooner the better.”
The dialogue continued for a just over an hour. Students were called upon individually to voice their concerns directly to Leath.
“I’m looking at how we can make progress,” Leath said. “I’m a results guy. I understand that this [protest] is important. I’m thinking about how we can get results for [students with concerns].”
The crowd dispersed after closing remarks from Harmon, who urged students to aid the university in creating initiates with regard to diversity.
“I’m trying to process ideas on how we can make things happen quicker,” Harmon said.
Campus police stood watch throughout the protests. No one was harmed during the protest.
The protesters met later in the evening to discuss a plan of action. Read that story here: