Video Reporting By Braden Wiesen / Written By Richard Kerr
Nearly a month after President-elect Donald Trump’s acceptance speech to take over the highest office in American politics, some students at Fort Hays State University are voicing concerns over their future.
“The second I heard that Trump is our President-elect, I immediately thought wow, I waited thirteen years to come out of the closet. This makes me want to go back in,” said Hannah McGee, a student at FHSU.
The FHSU Office of Inclusion and Diversity Excellence (IDE) hosted a “talking circle” December 6th in the Pioneer Room of the Memorial Union for students to express their emotions and gather together for support.
“There’s a lot of lack of resources on our campus to support our marginalized groups. Especially because right now there’s no director for [IDE] on our campus, so this was kind of a way to allow those students who do identify under those marginalized groups to kind of express themselves, express their feelings, frustrations, thoughts and opinions,” said Ulises Gonzalez, Student Leader of IDE.
Some students at the safe space cited the Trump administration’s rhetoric as a cause for concern.
“If you look at Donald Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence, he openly supports gay conversion camps, which basically says you can shock somebody into being straight and that scares me,” said Wade Jones, student Treasurer of the Gay Straight Alliance at FHSU.
Jones is also concerned by what he’s heard from fellow students around campus.
“I’ve heard from other students that the only [people] that matter are white, straight men,” Jones said, “That scares me for other people, people of color, people who are undocumented and here trying to make a better life for themselves and their children.”
Several students also voiced their anxieties as undocumented students during group discussion.
One student questioned the point of designating a safe space for students to express themselves.
“I came here tonight mainly just to hear everyone’s opinions,” said FHSU student Kadie Martin, “Not to start anything, mainly I came because I think safe spaces are ridiculous and that you should be able to control your feelings. We don’t need safe spaces.”
When asked about her feelings on the election results, Martin said her only concern was that “Hillary is still on the loose”.
The Leader promised confidentiality with the safe space participants during large group discussion, and for that reason will not publish what was shared in confidence without express permission.