News Local/State

Anti-Trump Rally Held On U Of I Campus

More than 300 students rallied by the U of I's alma mater statue Friday, in protest of the election of Donald Trump as president.

More than 300 students rallied by the U of I's alma mater statue Friday, in protest of the election of Donald Trump as president. Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

We’ve seen rallies in cities around the country following the election of Donald Trump as president - including Friday on the campus of the University of Illinois. Organizers say they wanted to hold a peaceful protest, and come together in solidarity against messages of racism, and white supremacy.

The crowd grew to more than 300 as groups like the Mexican Student Association and Black Students for Revolution spoke at the alma mater statue and marched around the Urbana campus quad.

The audience also heard from a younger generation. One teen named Ethan says he’s been belittled for being gay -- and identifies with those who say they’ve been victims of oppression this week.

"I see hate and violence every day in my life, and I refuse to see any more," he said. "I may be young, but my heart is heavy with emotions that so many of you felt in the past few days.  I’m here to tell you that I represent this next generation, and assure that this fight will go on as long as it has to.”

In a statement posted to the university’s website Friday, Urbana Chancellor Robert Jones says after a divisive election the campus community must come together in a way that’s open and respectful. 

Meanwhile, a member of the University of Illinois’ Mexican Student Association says campus leaders aren’t doing enough to protect people of color from harassment and intimidation after the election.

Jaime Nolasco says the event was intended to show solidarity against messages of xenophobia, and acts of oppression. 

Moments before Friday's rally, protesters prepare their posters.

Photo Credit: Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

Nolasco says Provost Edward Feser’s mass e-mail Thursday, discussing policies to ensure everyone’s physical safety on campus, is not enough after reports of intimidation involving students of color.

“E-mails are e-mails. Announcements are announcements. It’s been the same with the administration," he said. "These students don’t feel safe. Any of these students who came here don’t feel safe. Any of the people from the community don’t feel safe.  That’s why they’re here. And we’re here to make us feel safe – because administration at this point and time isn’t making us feel safe, yes.”

Others at the rally included Students Against Sexual Assault, Black Students for Revolution, and the UP Center of Champaign County.