Student leaders look to console students concerned with the results of the election


President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Sacramento, California on June 1, 2016. (File Photo)

Robert Hansen

In California, where Hillary Clinton won more than 60 percent of the vote, students at American River College voiced concerns following the election of President-elect Donald Trump.

District leaders have spoken out in support of those students.

At Thursday’s senate meeting, adviser Juan Blanco said that many students have approached the Center for Leadership and Development nervous, scared, distraught and fearing deportation.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for these students, including myself who is … trying to help these students process,” Blanco said. “There are students’ lives who transformed within hours.”

Blanco said UNITE is working to have conversations with students to process the outcome of the election. The challenge for faculty and staff is finding ways to support students on both sides, according to Blanco.

“It’s hard to navigate in terms of respecting people’s perspectives as well as supporting students who are afraid,” Blanco said. “The answer is, we don’t know.”

Student Trustee Marianna Sousa, who was a special guest at Thursday’s student senate meeting, said it’s about support right now and introduced the concept “love in and check on.”

She said the concept is going to start by all student body presidents of Los Rios campuses deciding to have a simultaneous “Love In” on Los Rios campuses.

“We do see that there are some walkouts and protesting,” Sousa said. “I would like to encourage love in and check on.”

Sousa said that the “love in” would start with a collective, simultaneous four-campus event to bring students together, but the most important aspect of the event is the check on.

“What happens when we walk away?” Sousa said. “We cry, we come together … but it’s the continued nature of the healing process that has to happen.”

After the “Love In,” Sousa said she wants leaders to take a point, once a day, to check on a fellow student.

“Whether it’s through texting, whether it’s squeezing their little hand when you see them in the hallway and ask them, ‘how you feeling today?’” Sousa said.

Chancellor Brian King and the presidents of each Los Rios school addressed the community in an open letter Thursday.

“Though we are in a period of disturbing uncertainty at the national level in the wake of the recent election,” the letter reads, ”the Los Rios colleges remain unwavering in our commitment to fulfill our mission to ‘provide a vibrant learning environment that empowers all students to achieve their educational and career goals.’”

The letter reaffirms that the core values of our district have never been more important than they are today, and that Chancellor King and each school’s president acknowledge and embrace their responsibilities: to empower underrepresented segments of our community and ensure that all populations have the access, support and opportunities to succeed.

“We will continue to fight on behalf of and alongside our students, as Martin Luther King, Jr., eloquently stated: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”