Speak-Out Organized After Historic Election

Members of the Colgate University community and Hamilton College community came together Friday, November 11 at 7 p.m. in the Ho Atrium to share fundamental thoughts, fears and other emotions post-election. Juniors Valeria Felix and Andrew Vallejos were the mediators for the evening.

The event was organized the day before a as a result of post-election gatherings in the Sociology and Anthropology and Women’s Studies Departments. After student and faculty brainstorming, the two departments came to the consensus that they wanted to organize a speak-out with the purpose of moving forward.

In the Facebook event, organizers stated that this space would be for people to discuss the effects of the rhetoric and ideologies promoted during the election and not to argue the results of the election itself. Additionally, they hoped conversation would concern ways to move forward as a community and take action together.

Felix spoke to the nature of the event.

“The title ‘Speak Up,’ and the description were left vague enough for this event to be flexible enough to become what the audience needed it to become,” Felix said.

She was pleased with the event’s laid-back mood.

“At first I was a little nervous that we wouldn’t have many people speak, but I was very glad to see that we were able to provide an open and inviting space that did allow for many to have their voices heard,” Felix said.

After a brief introduction, the floor was open to students. Microphones were passed around, and students had the opportunity to tell their stories regarding post-election experiences, fears and thoughts on the future. 

Hamilton College students attended the Speak Out to share their plans for a walk-out and march that took place on Hamilton’s campus on Tuesday, November 15. They encouraged Colgate students to join them. 

Students expressed being in mourning, and much of the conversation surrounded various student concerns.

They also implored one another to vote in midterm elections, donate and volunteer at organizations like Planned Parenthood that could face defunding by the Trump administration.

Additionally, students encouraged each other to love and support one another. Safety pins were passed around for attendees to wear as a symbol of solidarity. Safety pins were also worn in the U.K. after the Brexit vote to show solidarity with refugee and immigrant populations in the wake of emerging violence. The safety pin first emerged as a symbol of national solidarity in German occupied Europe during World War II.

Faculty and staff members were in attendance to hear student grievances as well as express their own concerns. President Brian Casey shared a personal story about his experience in college. As a gay man attending college during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s under the Reagan Administration, Casey found himself mobilizing with friends and marching on Washington. With his words, Casey expressed empathy for the fears of his students, stating that watching the election results on Tuesday evening brought him back to this time in his life. But Casey also expressed a hope in our generation’s ability to prevent injustices.

The event ended at 9 p.m. as scheduled, but many students had more to say, and remained in the Atrium to continue the discussion. 

According to senior Alessandra Devia, she was glad she attended the event. 

“It was nice to just be in the space. I was surrounded by familiar and unfamiliar faces, but it felt communal, it felt real,” Devia said. 

Junior Taylor Washing shared similar feelings about the event.

“Coming out of the Speak Up, I am unbelievably impressed by the strength that it took for people to share and speak up in the ways that they did against the hate that feels so overpowering right now, and it made me proud to be surrounded by people with this much love and strength,” Washing said.