As President Donald Trump swore the oath of office, becoming the 45th President of the United States, over one hundred Ohio State University students walked out of class on Friday to declare their opposition to the new administration.
Gathering outside the Thompson Library and marching to the student union, many students said they were still processing the fact that Donald Trump—a candidate so many on campus opposed during the election—had been officially sworn in as president.
Students like David Cole said that on the first day of the Trump presidency it felt reassuring to congregate with like-minded people.
"I haven't really participated in anything like this before," Cole said. "I think personally it's kind of nice to see that there are other people who think the same way I do."
A prominent concern among the protestors was the fear the new administration might violate human and civil rights, especially those of religious minorities, refugees and members of the LGBTQ community.
— Esther Honig (@estherhonig) January 20, 2017
Donald Trump, in a message that won him large support across the Midwest, underlined during the campaign a commitment to providing more jobs and improving the U.S. economy. Among protesters, however, optimism for those promises was low.
Cara Clark, an International Studies major, said that as a lesbian she believes this administration could negatively affect her ability to find fair employment.
"I've been looking at the job market in other states because I'm not sure that I want to stay in Ohio anymore," Clark says. "I'm also not sure about staying in a lot of other places where I might no longer feel super safe."
Among the crowd of protesters stood a handful of Trump supporters, including students Skylar Alexander and Andy Devita.
Now that Trump is in office, Alexander says, he's looking forward to holding formal debates where facts and opinions from both sides can be discussed. Over the last year, he says he's heard more heated arguments and fewer political discussions.
"I want to make my view heard," Alexander says. "I don't want to be called racist or a bigot. That's completely wrong. If anyone knows me, that's one thing they'll get from it. I'm going by policy and not character."
Protestor Madeline Dzurkl took the opportunity to talk with Alexander and Devita outside the library. They spent several minutes discussing the Affordable Care Act.
This university, Dzurkl says, is the ideal setting to hold more informed discussions. She hopes those will allow opposing groups to put aside misconceptions about one another.
"Trump supporters aren't all idiots. They're not all racists," Dzurkl says. "There's a misunderstanding just like how Trump supporters may think we're just tree huggers and we like to protest and cause violence."