Michael Wenye Li / Sun Staff Photographer

Members of the Cornell community support each other after the election.

November 10, 2016

Student Groups Wary of Trump’s Plans for Environment, Human Rights Issues

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As the results of Tuesday’s presidential election sink in across campus, members of Climate Justice Cornell and Amnesty International said Trump’s platform could challenge aims of environmental and social progress central to their missions.

CJC President Elizabeth Chi ’18 said Trump’s call to dissolve the Environmental Protection Agency and pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement challenges CJC’s mission “to promote a sustainable, just future and advance policy on climate change on the university, local and national levels.”

Members generally criticized Trump’s views on climate change, which the president elect has called a “hoax perpetuated by China.” Members said his platform “obstructs justice” for China, the country that has contributed the least to climate change, but is suffering the most.

Beyond climate change, several CJC members said they “personally feel the shock, pain and disillusionment that [the night of the] election caused for people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, LGBT individuals, women and other historically disenfranchised groups.”

With these issues at stake, members urged Americans and Cornellians to resist Trump if he seeks to advance troubling platforms and policies.

“We hope that yesterday was a wake-up call — climate and social justice will require us to resist with every fiber of our being,” members said in a statement. “The silence of the majority is the strongest weapon of the minority. We will not be silent.”

The Cornell chapter of Amnesty International — an organization that seeks to challenge injustice and promote international human rights — said Trump’s election has challenged its mission as well.

Christopher Hanna ’18, a co-facilitator for the organization, said Trump’s “vicious campaign-season rhetoric” and “horrific platform” pose a serious threat to human rights and the lives of many Cornell students.

Despite his concern about the president elect, Hanna said he is optimistic about students’ influence over Trump’s new term.

“Many students on campus are fearful right now, and for good reason, but I believe that students will organize to resist a Trump administration,” he said.