In an attempt to defend “any of those who seem to be different,” about 50 University of Dayton faculty and staff stood on the steps of Humanities Plaza on campus Monday, holding signs to protest hate and tension many of them said was the result of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Faculty organizers Sandra Yocum, Jana Bennett and Simanti Dasgupta, said they planned the demonstration as a way to support their colleagues and students who they say have been harassed in the past and who now may feel vulnerable.
An adjunct professor, Joeanna Hill-Robinson, said she was participating to send a message to members of the UD community that “they have to embrace everybody.”
“When I’m hearing that students are having some difficulty in terms of what’s being said to them, it’s important to me to let students know I’m not going to be one to just sit by and not say anything. I’m going to do something,” Hill-Robinson said.
Hill-Robinson praised the university’s efforts to try to create an inclusive campus.
Another faculty member, Patricia Polanski, who teaches counselor education, said she heard of some students being scared because of of the language and attacks used in the presidential campaign.
“I’m here to show that this is not OK,” Polanski said.
UD officials are not aware of any incidents of harassment that have taken place since the election, spokesperson Cilla Shindell said.
UD faculty and staff will continue to address the fallout from the election with a “teach-in” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Sears Recital Hall on campus.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the impact of the election on the community, social discord and discrimination, according to a flier tweeted from UD’s Human Rights Center’s Twitter account Monday.
There have been reports of at least three Muslim students being attacked on college campuses in recent days, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Susan Trollinger, a professor in the English department, participated in the demonstration as a way to stand against “unfortunate attitudes” from the presidential election that “seem to have become particularly visible” since last week.
“I’m here to identify the University of Dayton and as many faculty, staff and students as possible with what’s at the core of UD’s identity, which is love and compassion and justice,” Trollinger said.