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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, May 25, 2024

Tufts students express early optimism, ultimate dismay over election results

Students expressed a combination of enthusiasm, hesitation and disappointment throughout the course of the evening over the 2016 presidential election at last night's Election Night Extravaganza in the Mayer Campus Center.

The event was sponsored by the Experimental College, the Office for Campus Life, JumboVote, the Department of Political Science, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts Democrats and Tufts Republicans.

This event was packed, with over about 1,000 students in attendance when it began, according to ExCollege Director Howard Woolf. Sophomore Gabe Fish said that this is a particularly high-stakes election.

"I've definitely been up a lot worrying about it," Fish said. "It's really exciting being here tonight, but I'm also very nervous."

Seniors Hayley Cohen and Sarah Gruen, who spent the day canvassing for Clinton in Londonderry, N.H., expressed concern over the divisiveness of this election. While canvassing, the two said they saw a sign that read "Christian or Democrat: Pick Only One."

"That pretty much sums up my feelings and fears about this election," Cohen said. "It's about identity and about who's good and who's bad and who you're allowed to be. I think at Tufts, it's no surprise that we're overwhelmingly against Trump if we can't agree on anything else, but the undercurrents are certainly scary. We were speaking, as we were walking here, about what happens next to the GOP and what happens next to the base of Trump supporters who now have been exposed by this election."

Many conservative students were reluctant to discuss their political beliefs with the Daily.

Alexander Jaramillo is a registered Republican who voted absentee for Clinton in Florida. Jaramillo, a junior, said that he was considering voting for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson but eventually chose Clinton due to the closeness of the race.

"It's one of those 'lose the battle or win the war' kind of things," he said. "I'm looking forward to 2020 for a Rubio or Ryan ticket that I'd one hundred percent endorse to get Hillary out."

Alex, a first-year from Nevada who requested to be identified by only his first name, voted absentee for Johnson. He said that the election made some voters feel that they had to choose between the lesser of two evils.

"I think it's more important to vote for a candidate who represents my own ideals and what I believe in rather than just picking someone because I don't like the person they're running against," he said.

Some students said they struggled with voter registration issues. Ilya Yurchenko, a first-year, said that he never got his absentee ballot from New York but that he was excited about the election regardless.

"I myself am an immigrant, so this is a pretty emotional time for me," Yurchenko said. "I'm looking forward to finding out the results at this point."

Later in the night, after many sources began to give Trump much higher chances of victory, student responses became increasingly emotional.

"It just means there's a lot more hatred in the world that I thought, I guess," sophomore Shreya Marathe, who attended the event, said. "I don't even feel afraid, it's more like disbelief...I just don't even know."

As the event ended and the campus center began closing, students could be seen both tearfully comforting one another and expressing sincere anger. Julie Murray said that she anticipated the mood to last beyond election night.

"By the end people were booing at the TV flipping it off, people stressed out on the phone talking loved one in other places to get them out...I feel like campus is going to be pretty depressing tomorrow," Murray, a junior, said.

Woolf, who helped organize the event, said he gave a brief speech to those students left in the campus center by the end of the night in order to help them cope with the anticipated results.

"The mood was hard. People were hurt, upset, disappointed...but people acted in an admirable way. They tried to support one another," he said. "At 11:00, I asked them all what they wanted to do, and they said, 'we're staying'."

Woolf also tried to give students a glimmer in light of a likely a Trump victory, saying that social activism may experience a boost.

"This is the kind of moment where genuine social change happens--not when you're in power, but when you're the opposition," he said. "Hold onto this hurt, use it as motivation. Something positive could come of it."


Catherine Perloff and Liam Knox contributed reporting on this article.