Cabrini’s post-inaugural forum gives students a voice

President Taylor talks with students at the post-inaugural open forum. Photo by Emma Rodner-Tims.

With the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, occurring last week, there are a number of different opinions about the new leader of our country.

Some are in support of the president, while others are in complete opposition.

The world is a place run by opinions and viewpoints, especially those that do not agree with one another. They are what makes the world go around.

But, what happens when those differing opinions start to disrupt the comfort and serenity of Cabrini’s close-knit community?

Voices get lost, and people feel as though they are not heard.

In response to this, Cabrini University’s president, Donald B. Taylor aimed to bring the campus together by hosting an open mic forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in the mansion.

With such a controversial political season in our nation’s history, people’s emotions are running high no matter which political party was supported.

The forum was an opportunity for the students to speak to Taylor, select administrators and faculty and fellow students directly about what is occurring across the nation and on campus.

“Feelings are running high right now, both at our school and in the nation given the polarized sensibilities we saw reflected in this past election. I wanted to assist President Taylor to make sure that students understand the extent to which our University is working hard to create a place of comfort and well-being for everyone who attends Cabrini,” English professor Seth Frechie said.

Dr. Frechie attended the forum as a faculty representative from Cabrini’s Inclusively Council.

Forum attendees continued the conversation, as the forum came to a close. Photo by Emma Rodner-Tims

The forum created a safe space for students to talk about how they feel and what they want to see happen as a nation and as a community.

“I think almost immediately President Taylor was able to create a kind of safe space for this conversation. I think the students, faculty and staff in attendance recognized that and appreciated having that kind of environment available for a discussion of these important issues,” Frechie said.

Topics discussed included micro-aggressions, health care, Planned Parenthood and what can be done by individuals going forward.

Junior criminology major Raquel Johnson said, “I feel like the main issues people are worried about are Planned Parenthood, reproductive rights of women, people’s health care – that’s a big one a lot of people are talking about – and even the idea of how people are going to be treated simply because of their faith or simply because they were not born here and came from another country in hope of getting the same exact things that we have.”

A larger part of the forum discussed the members of the community that did vote for President Trump.

With Cabrini being a school that whole-heartedly supports immigration and the education of immigrants, some students grappled with the idea that any of our student body could have voted for Donald Trump.

“I came to the forum mostly because I want to know what others are thinking. I know how I feel; I know what I believe in. I now want to be able to listen and learn from those who might be opposed to me or get my view but in a different perspective,” Johnson said.

And, those who support did try to have their voices heard.

“I went just because I know that a lot of the people who actually voted for Trump weren’t getting a voice on campus, and I felt like they needed a voice. I felt it was important for the campus as a whole to get two differing opinions together,” junior education major Robby Jennette said. “There’s a reason they voted for that person, and there’s a reason somebody might not have voted for them. So, kind of take into consideration that it’s still a person that voted for him, and they have their own reasons for voting for him.”

The forum lifted a weight off the shoulders of its attendees, as it gave them a chance to verbally work through what they are feeling, no matter which candidate they support.

“I felt like it was good. People were pretty receptive to what I had to say, and it wasn’t like a shouting match or anything. I think people kind of took what I had to say and digested it and gave good feedback, and I did the same with the things they said. It was a good give and take,” Jennette said.

 

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