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FOLLOW-UP: NYIT Students Join Anti-Trump Rallies

Published on 20th December 2016

In front of NYIT library, facing the Trump Tower on Broadway, a handful of students held an anti-Trump protest on December 1 to express their dissent against the rhetoric of the new President-elect.

Reed Rudowski and Charlie Cojab, both freshmen at NYIT, were among the organizers. “We wanted to start a peaceful, understanding protest and set a different environment where people can understand the different perspectives,” says Reed.

Charlie, whose parents are Mexican immigrants, says “the idea came in class the day after the election” when a Brazilian classmate shared his family’s fear “because Trump doesn’t support Latinos”.

“In three of my four classes that day, we didn’t do anything but talk our feelings and how we are going to make sure we’re all going to be ok,” he continues.

During the protest, Reed exchanges arguments back and forth with a passer-by, in his 60s, who supports Trump. “You have misunderstood what he says about Muslims because he often trips on his lips,” says the older man, “You have an enemy whom you cannot identify by his name. The Muslims are not the problem. The radical jihadists are.”

At this point, another student from NYIT jumps in the conversation: “What he’s trying to say is that jihadism is not the only problem that we have, it is one of the problems,” the student says with confidence. “I agree with you that what he’s doing is bad to the Muslims that live here but our own friends are two steps away from being radicalized,” he says.

In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton asked her supporters to give Trump a “chance to lead,” although by then walkouts and protests had already spread across the country; at college campuses in California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and in the cities of Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, Dallas and Oakland. In New York, crowds gathered at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where the president-elect lives, holding “New York Hates Trump” and “Not Our President” banners.

This past month we saw Columbia, NYU and a series of other universities nationwide promising they will support undocumented students against the President’s policies. Also, media organizations and associations promised to preserve and protect their values towards freedom of expression; New York Times, College Media Association and the Student Press Law Center.

“From Day One” Trump has said he will implement extreme vetting and possibly a ban to people from “terror-prone” countries who enter the US. According to analysts, 12-40 countries would be affected, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Saleh BinKhulayf, from Saudi Arabia, says that “If that happened, it would be a huge mistake for the US that would affect their economy. The number of Saudi students in the US is more than 90,000.” He says some of his friends “have decided to stay in the US until they graduate because they said they might not be allowed to enter the US again.”

Can Altuğlu, from Turkey, finds that “this kind of a ban would be undemocratic and against human rights. Yes, every country has the right to protect their borders and do a security check on people before issuing visas but the US is already doing that. Also, not everyone living in Turkey has to be Muslim or a believer. Generalizations are nothing more than stereotypes.”

Also “from Day One” Trump has promised to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. He also seems unwilling to introduce paid leave for young mothers.

J.C., from New York, finds it “unfair to defund Planned Parenthood. They do real work with Sexually Transmitted Diseases, birth control etc. Why would you take it away instead of monitoring the funding?”

Soline Boullard, from France, believes banning abortion will be “a huge step back in history, a shame, and people in the government won't let it happen. French women get a time off their job when they are pregnant and of course they are paid while they are gone,” she says “Not every woman can get the help they need when they have a child. And the system should be there for them.”​