The turbulent weather did not stop hundreds of students from expressing their contempt for President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a walkout that began in Campbell Hall and continued into the streets of Isla Vista on Friday at noon.
The walkout, organized by the Student Activist Network, began with students crowding around Campbell Hall. Students marched from Campbell Hall, made their way into the Library — following agreement with administrators — Storke Tower, and into Isla Vista where it ended in the Anisq’Oyo’ Amphitheater, a small community gathering place next to Embarcadero Hall.
The walkout was an anti-inauguration protest with students expressing their concerns and frustrations over the impending consequences of a Trump presidency. Student organizers led the walkout with a banner that read “Fight Trump” and many other students held up signs of their own like “Make America Gay Again” and “Jail Bankers, not Immigrants” directly protesting Trump’s policies and ideologies.
Chants including “Walk Out!,” “No Donald Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!,” and “Trump says ‘Go back’, we say ‘Fight back!’” could be heard through the halls of the Davidson Library and throughout as students made their way around campus.
Students congregated to show their support and to stand in solidarity with the undocumented students and families who would most be affected by Trump’s bold anti-immigration rhetoric.
“It’s a very trying time for everyone,” said Daniel Torres, a second year history of public policy major, “and if we show our support it really helps build community here in Isla Vista.”
Faculty members and graduate students also showed their support by marching with the students. Pratik Raghu, a graduate student currently in the Global Studies P.H.D program, was marching side by side with the students. He was there to demonstrate that being involved in activism was vitally important, especially as a college student.
“I think it’s one of the most crucial aspects of college and university life … ” stated Raghu. “At the same time as a lot of folks are facing more heightened threats than they ever have, the quality and quantity of resistance on display are tremendous and I have faith in the latter.”
The walkout also featured a series of speakers that included both students and faculty members. The speakers, representing different organizations and communities, spoke out against Trump, his administration, and his policies. They took place outside Campbell Hall before officially beginning the walkout, in front of Storke Tower, and finally, in Isla Vista.
Various student groups and campus departments centered their words around the importance of resistance and unity of communities who feel threatened under a Trump presidency.
They also spoke out against particular members of Trump’s cabinet who, according to students, pose a threat to climate change and the direct impact that rising sea levels can have here in Santa Barbara.
Asian American Studies Department Chair Lisa Park, was one of the few faculty members to speak in front of student protesters. Park urged students to keep reading and to keep thinking as a way of resisting Donald Trump’s controversial views. She also promoted the ethnic studies courses offered here on campus, as a way to learn about the histories of communities largely erased by mainstream narratives.
The walkout did not go without disruption as some students showed up at the end of the march sporting “Make America Great Again” hats. However no situation escalated, and students participating in the march would occasionally go up to Trump supporters and engage them in conversation.
One of the Trump supporters present was Jason Garshfield, a recent alumnus of the University who graduated with a degree in Political Science. Garshfield explained that he attended the walkout to act as the silent majority of UCSB students who do not agree with the politics of the left. He attributed the protester’s ideologies as a consequence of the brainwashing of young students by “marxist hegemony over academia which is openly training them for radical activism.”
The walkout ended at about 1:30 p.m. with a speech from one of the key organizers of the walkout, fourth year religious studies major Eric Villalobos.
In his speech, he stated, “Donald Trump’s victory has empowered white nationalist groups — neo-Nazi movements and the Ku Klux Klan have become more visible, more powerful … we cannot afford to let that happen and we can’t legislate that threat away. We also can no longer rely on administration both nationally and locally to fight our political fights.”