MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — In reaction to the 2016 presidential election, Middlebury College students staged a peaceful protest march on campus Sunday afternoon carrying signs and banners, and chanting “Not my president” and “Love trumps hate.”
An estimated 150 to 200 undergraduates participated in the demonstration that started at Davis Family Library, looped around behind Le Château and past McCardell Bicentennial Hall, and culminated in front of Mead Chapel where students spoke out against racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.
One of the organizers of the march and the first speaker on the steps of Mead Chapel was Travis Sanderson ’19, who earlier posted on his Facebook page: “Our presidential election has ended in terror for the lives and livelihoods of millions of marginalized people. We cannot sit still in a time of injustice. On Sunday, our Middlebury community will march nonviolently. … We hope you can join us in standing up in this moment of history.”
While marching around campus, the students chanted, “Love trumps hate,” “Immigration, not deportation,” “Not my president,” “The people, united, we’ll never be divided,” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!”
Scores of signs and banners were carried by students, some of which read, White Silence = Violence; Build Bridges, Not Walls; Queers Against Fascism; Dump Trump; United Against H8; and Abolish White Supremacy. Also, Black Lives Matter; We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Pissed; Juntos Se Puede; and Estamos Unidos.
Some observers clapped and cheered as the protest march made its way around campus, while others stood and watched. And as the sun went down behind Mead Chapel, a handful of students made the decision to join the demonstration, which lasted about an hour.
In addition to the student-organized march, the College held open conversations on November 11 to discuss “the deep divisions in this country” and “how we move forward as a college community committed to respect, inclusivity, and civility.” There is a panel discussion on November 14 where three students and two faculty members will atempt to answer questions in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. And on the day immediately following the election, three spaces on campus—Mead Chapel, Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and Anderson-Freeman Resource Center—were designated for “quiet contemplation, reflection, or meditation.”