Students, Staff Sit in Silence to Protest GOP Candidate

CHRIS FRYMAN | CO EDITOR IN CHIEF

On Wednesday, March 30, with only a 36-hour notice, Donald Trump made it known that De Pere would be a stop on his tour of Wisconsin, which he undertook in preparation for the state’s primary, which will be held on April 5. The late addition may be an attempt by Trump’s campaign to regain ground in the polls, which show him down ten points to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, perhaps a surprising fact, considering he held a ten point lead of his own in the state in February of this year.

Trump has arguably been the most controversial candidate of this electoral season. It should be no surprise, then, that protesters have lined the sidewalks of Donald Trump’s rallies for this entire race. It is not uncommon to hear anti-Trump chants outside his events, and on more than one occasion, Trump’s supporters and his opposition’s supporters have clashed with bloody results.

During his visit to St. Norbert College, however, Trump was met with something to which he and his supporters were rather unfamiliar: silence.

Over 100 students, faculty and alumni packed a reserved space outside of the Bush Art Center to express their dissatisfaction with the candidate and his contentious rhetoric. Many brought handmade signs displaying sentiments of opposition. These opposing views, however, were expressed with peaceful intentions.

The sit-in was featured on national news stations and was quickly organized by Grace Petry ’16. According to Petry, the key to the protest’s success was the resolve shown by her fellow SNC students and faculty, who were adamant that this protest, along with the event with which it coincided, would not divide the campus.

“Participants adhered to the peaceful spirit of the movement, and any agitators soon got bored with our lack of response to their jeers… My hope is that this protest will have shown the St. Norbert community that an event like this will not erode our values,” said Petry.

With recent Trump protests making headlines due to violent outbursts, safety was a primary concern for Petry, as well as Campus Safety and the De Pere Police Department. However, the stoic nature of the demonstration, as well as the careful preparation by campus officials, did its part to eliminate any risk of harm.

When asked about what affect she wished the demonstration would have, Petry responded, “It may be too optimistic to say that perhaps we will set an example for future protests in order to further promote the peace and safety of all who are involved,” yet, with the media attention the sit-in received, a message of peace may be spread to future protestors.

With plenty of delegates left on the board, a plethora of campaign stops still remain for Donald Trump. Protests are sure to arise, and one can only hope that future protestors will attempt to emulate Petry’s grace.

 

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