Trump: University and Beyond

trump-protest

Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

It has been six days. Despite insulting countless minorities, despite having no political experience, despite losing the nationwide popular vote by un unprecedented margin, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States.

We have had six days to process. To watch as Donald Trump walks into the White House and shakes hands with President Obama. To comfort those that Trump has demeaned and planned to make policies against. To walk out into the streets and protest or sit in the comfort of our own homes and cope.

The effects of Trump’s presidency are perhaps most deeply felt on America’s college campuses. In some states, particularly California, a democratic stronghold, students marched minutes after the results of the election were announced. In other places, students were stunned into silence, the atmosphere more anxious than usual. In all places, the sun rose (just as President Obama predicted) and life went on.

The aftermath of the election was almost instant. In addition to the demonstrations, parents had to comfort their children; teachers had to tell their students “I am your advocate.” The instance of hate crime rose, just as it did when Trump targeted marginalized groups during his campaign. The Trump effect is very real.

Despite having such a widespread effect on colleges across the country, Trump’s education policy has not been thoroughly explained. In fact, it warrants a measly two paragraphs on his official website.

The best political analysts can do at this point is make predictions. And, as we have seen firsthand, their predictions are not always true. But they are worth looking at. In his rallies, Trump has advocated increased funding for private education and less restrictions on private colleges. He has not elaborated on where these extra funds will come from, and many are worried that the funds will be taken from public education. Trump has said that he will shrink, and possibly even disband, the Department of Education.

Trump’s strict stance  on immigration will likely pose a problem for undocumented students, or “dreamers”, who were temporarily protected under an executive action by the Obama administration. According to Cheryl Little, director of the advocacy group Americans for Immigrant Justice, “[Dreamers] could well lose the opportunity to obtain a work permit and attend college or join the military if the president-elect keeps his promise.”

Six days in, it is too early to tell how the landscape of American education will change in the next four years. For now, we all must try to listen and learn from each other in the face of these difficulties. We must continue to educate ourselves and take power in our knowledge. And we can take comfort in the fact that tomorrow, the sun will rise again.

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