A Yale economics professor made a scheduled test optional after receiving many “heartfelt notes” from students who were in shock as they learned that Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. He told his students that the most affected were those who feared for their own families. The most upsetting students, the professor wrote, requested the exam to be postponed.
Because it is hard to reschedule exam rooms at such a late date and postponing the exam would throw off the rest of the schedule, he decided the best option was to make it optional.
Wednesday morning saw many students arriving in Yale full of anxiety and others had their eyes lost in the distance after hearing the incredible news. A recent News survey revealed that the overwhelming majority in this university supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Students processed their feelings as they gathered in La CASA Cultural, the Afro-American Cultural Center and Dwight Chapel over the day.
TJ Noel-Sullivan, 20, told News that the first thing he did that morning was to have an assessment in Spanish and he said it had been a difficult thing to transition into. Many Yalies could not understand how the country could choose a scandal-ridden businessman who became famous in reality television and real state, as reported by Yale Daily News.
“When the country is choosing between having a female president and a president who talks disparagingly about women on a regular basis, it’s pretty shocking to see the country make this choice,” said 17-year-old Abigail Schneider, as quoted by Yale Daily News.
After classes, Dwight Hall was filled with around 300 emotionally distressed students distress who wanted to hear the institution’s historically African-American a capella group called Shades sing “We Shall Overcome” and other solidarity-related songs. Shades member Isaac Scobey-Thal told Yale Daily News that many of his friends were appalled that the nation had elected a man widely known for his racist attitude and a background of alleged sexual harassment.
Students at Yale, he said, have a variety of different views on how to handle their academic work in the middle of their emotional distress as a result of the abrupt change the country and the world have witnessed this week. Scobey-Thal added that he needs to put his work off until later and that people should be given a chance to take a break so they can express their feelings and be with friends.
However, others believe the election result should not affect their academic lives. Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway told the News that will not allow the election result have a negative impact on Yale’s academic mission. He also remarked that his office would not take into account excuses from students who are upset about the way the electoral campaign ended.
“One thing we need to do during difficult times is keep focus on what we are all about: We are an educational institution, a research institution, and we need to do that work,” Holloway said, as quoted by the News. “Being as normal as we can in our day-to-day work is, I think, a healthy response.”
Some students also share their opinions. The News reported Noah Strausser as saying that his professors said Wednesday they wanted to “move on, carry on and think about something else for a little bit.” He added that the first half hour of class was devoted to letting everybody open up about their feelings.
For his part, student Hudson Lee said he tried hard not to read the comments his friends posted on Facebook on election night because he had to prepare for a midterm exam. On Piazza, an online Q&A forum between students and professors, many students urged for the test to be postponed. Lee said he snapped himself back into reality and delayed his reaction till, after this midterm, the News reported.
Trump supporters at Yale represent 5 percent of the undergraduate population
Not everyone at the institution was shocked, angry and tearful because of the election outcome. A small group of Trump supporters celebrated Trump’s victory of 279 electoral votes over Clinton’s 228 and stood to watch Yale students gather on Cross Campus after the unexpected Clinton defeat.
A senior Trump supporter in Berkeley College told Yale Daily News that he was eager to face the comments of his liberal peers in class over the week and added that it would be “hilarious.”
Other universities across the country rejected the election outcome
Professor Alan Peel at the University of Maryland decided to postpone exams. He wrote in an email to students that it was necessary to delay any assessments to prevent the national circumstances from affecting the scores.
“The nation in which you currently reside decided last night to elect a president whose own words have painted him a moral and possibly physical hazard to many of us,” Professor Peel added, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Elizabeth Bly, who teaches Women Studies at Cleveland State University, organized a protest and called her students to join her if they wanted to do so. She asked them to dress warmly and protest on behalf of women, brown and black people who are “unsafe now more than ever.”
In Berkeley, the University of California wrote in an email to students that the election result “sparked fear and concern” among vulnerable Muslim, African American, Chicanx, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The statement’s list included those who have been sexually assaulted and people with disabilities. New safe spaces were created for minority students as well as healing spaces for women and members of the LGBT community, the Daily Mail reported.
Source: Yale Daily News