Hundreds of Cornellians and Ithacans joined to protest the 'hate speech' prevalent throughout Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Hundreds of Cornellians and Ithacans joined to protest the 'hate speech' prevalent throughout Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

November 11, 2016

Hundreds of Cornellians Walk Out of Class, Protesting Election’s ‘Hate Speech’

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At the sound of a bullhorn, several hundred students walked out of their classes Friday. Cornellians and Ithacans assembled outside Bailey Hall and marched to the Arts Quad, stopping traffic on East Avenue momentarily, protesting the hateful rhetoric that has dominated this election cycle.

Participants carried signs that read, “No more hate, stand up for love,” “No more compliance, stand up for justice,” “Not my president” and “Love trumps hate.” Some wore safety pins to encourage campus safety; others lifted flags to represent their marginalized group.

While marching, students led others in chants including, “no justice, no peace” and “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist anti-gay.”

At the demonstration, students shared emotional stories about the shocking election of Donald Trump this week. One student, through tears, read a poem she had written about the meaning of privilege. Another student expressed her fears about what Trump said he would do to Mexican immigrants.

“Fuck that!” the crowd screamed in response.


Odalis Flores ’19, proudly carrying a Mexican flag as she walked, stressed that the walkout aspired to promote support and acceptance of all demographics.

“This isn’t even about defending only my ethnicity,” Flores said. “It’s about Latinos in general, it’s about other groups, it’s about solidarity with one another.”

Cari Cesarotti ’17 added that the demonstration showed that the younger generation is “still powerful, our opinion matters and that this country is just as much ours as it is anyone else’s.”

“One of the biggest thing I’m scared about right now is how much hate exists for minorities, for women, and that people are already acting on it,” she said. “[People are] pretending this is what it means to be Americans — to hate — and that’s not what it means. I think all of us being here together showing the country that we care about each other, we support each other, that’s what’s important.”


A number of faculty members participated in the walkout as well, and some canceled classes. Prof. Bruce Monger, oceanography, who teaches the largest course on campus — “Introduction to Oceanography” with over 1,000 students — sent an email to the entire class saying “if you want to join the protest, you are excused from attending today.”

Kristin Dade, a program manager for the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, said she joined to demonstrate “solidarity with her students.”

Several faculty members allowed students to leave class early or offered to reteach portions of their lesson so students could participate in the demonstration.

Anna Kelles, a Tompkins County legislator representing District Two and a lecturer in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, said the last three days “have been dedicated to mourning, finding a voice, connecting, uniting and finding family.” She called the walkout a means of mourning and moving forward.

“People have to see that our next generation is engaged, that they have power, they want a voice and they want to do the work,” she said. “They have to see this and they’re showing the world that they are not going to stand aside, and I want to support that in every way I can.”

Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo grad, a member of Ithaca Black Lives Matter chapter, added that the walkout provided an outlet for the “collective frustration and disgust and exhaustion” of Cornellians who deal with microaggressions in their daily lives.

“To see that manifested in a presidential candidate is too much to bear,” Lumumba-Kasongo said.


According to organizer Mayra Valadez ’18, individuals involved in both ALANA Intercultural organizations and from Cornell Graduate Students United joined to organize the walkout. She explained that the event aimed to give the community the chance to “stand in solidarity with campuses across the nation, but also be united in this time of distress for a lot of people.”

“[We wanted to] provide community for the people of color, for Muslims, for disabled peoples, LGBT individuals and just people who belong to these marginalized communities, but [we also wanted] to bring in people who belong to the Cornell community,” Valadez said.

Organizers began planning the demonstration Wednesday night, reaching out to potential speakers, creating chants and signs and spreading the word among Cornellians, according to Valadez. She said she expected about a hundred people to participate and was surprised by the several hundred who attended today.

“I think people who saw us, and maybe weren’t invited to the event or didn’t have friends who told them about this, saw us on their way to class and joined us,” she said. “I thought that was amazing, and I think everybody saw that.”

Although the event was created in response to Trump’s victory, one of its main goals was to help those struggling with the result to cope and make their voices heard, according to Valadez.

Cornell’s demonstration was part of a coordinated action with Stanford University, University of California, Davis, Princeton University, Columbia University and Brandeis University, according to the event’s Facebook page.

“There are campuses across the nation at this exact same time doing the same thing we did,” Valadez said. “We stood in solidarity with them and I think the people that spoke, spoke truth. We’re affirmed by the community that came out and there is something really powerful about that, especially nationally.”

  • Wandering the halls

    Professor Bruce Monger should be “excused” from his teaching responsibilities.

    • Ball Plume

      Thanks for demonstrating the empathy-free attitude taking hold in America. Not excusing that attitude, mind you.

    • Amber

      And this is why we needed a protest.

    • Anonymous

      Professor Bruce Monger is a saint. COME AT ME.

      • Cu

        I’ll come at you. The people I know who voted for Trump did so for reason that have nothing to do with the things Cornell students are protesting (immigrant rights,, gay rights, empowerment of women etc). When I was a Cornell student (over 35 years ago) I thought that I would be as successful as I wanted to be. It’s a shock to be out of work in your 50s after busting your ass for all those years with an Ivy League degree, a family to support, and dozens and dozens of rejections. And all the while you are being told you are enjoying white male privilege. Here’s a question for all you undergrad Cornell “marginslized” protesters. What is the suicide rate among you? Must be high and growing due to how you have suffered with no hope in sight. Well guess what? It’s infinitesimal. Meanwhile, those enjoying white make privilege in there 50s are killing themselves in record numbers and the numbers are climbing. Trump might not turn around the Obama economic malaise but desperate out of work breadwinners know that a continuation of Obama’s policies will not get them off the ledge. Most of you are no more able to understand what this is like than a kindergarten student could understand what that first Chen 207 prelim feels like.

        • Ray

          Sorry to hear about your job loss, and your economic and emotional distress. It must be awful to be in that position. I hope you find employment soon.

          What part of Trumps platform do you envision will turn things around for you, and those in a similar position?

          You mention suicide, if you are feeling suicidal, please seek help.

          Under Obamacare there are provisions for mental health services. How will the needs of those who struggle with mental health issues or who are “on the ledge ” be addressed in a Trump administration? Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare without a hint of what will replace it for the millions who now rely on it.

          What will Trump do to make it easier for you to find a job that values your skills and Ivy League education?

          What about social security in your retirement? Do you imagine a Trump presidency will improve that? There are rumblings that he will revamp and privatize the system. Does that worry or excite you?

          I do hope your situation improves. I am genuinely interested in understanding what you think Trump will do to make it better?

    • Barbara

      Political correctness is destroying this nation, and that’s why anyone who disagrees with me should be silenced and leave the country.

  • Mickey

    I voted for Clinton and I’m a Democrat, but young millennials, the liberal media and liberals at Cornell and other elite universities need to get off their high horse. Some people truly do not understand why Trump won, it was not just because of his hateful rhetoric. Many people voted for him IN SPITE of his hateful rhetoric-Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania show that. You can be upset, you have a right to be, but if you are not understanding the other reasons why Trump won-Hillary was a weak candidate, people are sick of the political establishment which she represents, the fact that blue collar workers have been ignored by both parties (Hillary did not realize she was losing the Rust Belt), and the corruption/arrogance of the DNC-then you are living in La La Land. Wake up, pick yourselves up, fix the Democratic Party, and realize that the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton/Clinton World, and you yourselves are tone deaf to the rest of the country. Fight back and fight hard, but do not keep thinking that half the country is JUST a basket of deplorables, because as can be seen, that has already and will continue to get you nowhere.

    • Mickey

      And before anyone asks me why I voted for Clinton if I feel this way or suggests I’m actually a Trump supporter-I grudgingly voted for her but recognized that she was a very flawed candidate (scandals that just won’t go away, even if they’re overblown, her close relationship with Wall Street, which the Rust Belt definitely saw, and the fact that she had no real platform other than Never Trump and just being a continuation of Obama’s legacy). I was, and am more scared of a Trump presidency because of the fact that I have no idea what he’s ACTUALLY going to do and his constant lies and rhetoric. But other Americans did not see it this way, as I said above.

      • Sad week

        Just saw Trump’s proposed cabinet. Not too many women, Latinos etc. etc. Just old white wealthy guys. And now he loves big parts of OBAMA care. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……

    • Concerned

      I think you are absolutely wrong. Cornell students are smart, well read, and perceptive- and it is for thse reasons that they are shocked and scared.

      They fully understand that blue collar workers have been ignored , what they don’t understand is how so many could be so foolish as to think that Donal Trump truly give a damn. He represents everything that is wrong with the country, and cares for nobody but himself.

      Bring back jobs – are you kidding? His own products are manufactured over seas. Help the impoverished ? He has stiffed so many working and middle class people. Wanting to get paid for the services they provide, his response is “sue me.”

      Lower taxes to help the lower and middle class? Nope that’s not on his agenda either. Cutting the taxes of the upper 1% while eliminating needed programs for the poor, is what he plans.

      Protect the environment? Nope he doesn’t believe in the adverse impact of climate change, a hoax created by the Chinese, he says.

      Charitable? Nope fails there too. Despite his abundant wealth gives little to nothing to those less fortunate, and when he does its with other people’s money. Where is his compassion for these blue collar workers?

      Health care to assist these blue collar worker? Who knows, he sure doesn’t. He paraded a group of his workers in front of the camera to say that they are being hurt by the rising premiums of Obama care ….until his aides told him that not one of them was insured through Obama care. ….

      the bottom line – he makes things up, if he thinks it will serve his purpose, and get him praise, he is ill- prepared and ill informed. He brags about taking advantage of and assaulting this less powerful, and exacts revenge on those who don’t sing his praise,

      Please don’t disparage Cornell students or their professors who are outraged that such a morally corrupt , bullying man who show so little understanding or care about people’s needs has conned enough people to believe that he will be an agent of change on behalf of those in the rust belt or anywhere else in America.

  • Get_used_to_it_trump_is_the_president

    In the eyes of liberals, “hate speech” means speech that offends themselves.

    So far there’s no questioning about the legality of the election, so here’s the baseline statement: Trump was elected legally through a democratic process (like it or not). Objections? If you don’t agree upon this baseline, obviously you are one of the stubborn self-centric liberals who live in your own world and frankly for people like you, no one gives a shit about what you think.

    Now, since we all agree that he’s electected in a democratic way, let’s talk about democracy. Democracy not only means you can vote, but more importantly, to embrace the outcome of the process, even if that’s not what you vote for, that’s demovracy. And look at these protesting and rioting people – yes you have the right to express yourself, that’s freedom of speech, but deep down, what are you guys protesting for? To overthrow the election result? To elect again? To silience all the people who have a different opinion than you do, because what, “you are always right”? Do you really believe that your vote counts as a vote and a vote towards Trump is not? Is this whole democracy thing a big joke to you? Wake up dumbass!

    We were the silienced majority. When you lose, you don’t want to know why you lose and instead you are accusing us through these protests that we didn’t let you win? My 5-year old son is more mature than you are right now. Grab your car key and drive 10 miles any direction out of Ithaca and that’s where reality is.

    Lastly, other than letting your voice being heard (plus waste your time, waste your tuition money), what else is the purpose of this protest? What do you guys want to achieve? Just curious.

    • Tired

      If they feel the need to do this- why not? Sometimes emotion needs an outlet and social support is needed to cope. The purpose of this protest is to heal from a shock. It doesn’t seem like they were silencing others and people were free to congregate or leave. Nothing was damaged and there was no direct harm to others.

      I would say the same no matter who had won. I hope I’m not sounding like I’m lecturing but I’m so tired. Tired of opposing sides demonizing each other and talking like the other side are idiots.

      Can we just allow each other some leeway and accept that we’re humans? Please, there’s no temporary place to hide from this disrest.

  • borris batanov

    Better be careful. Trump is the boogieman and hiding under your bed. Boo!

    Meanwhile, Hillary is one of the most hateful, lying, corrupt politicians ever, proving that Progressives don’t care about The Truth. They’ll use any excuse to smear the opposition. And, of course, they’re ALWAYS the innocent victims.

    Meanwhile, it’s anti-Trump people who are vandalizing property, disrupting traffic and beating up people. Fascists are such nice folks.

    • gayandnotgoinganywhere

      any comment on the recent explosion of hate crimes across our country? Or since is have never affected you, do you still continue to ignore it? *await reply*

      • gayandnotgoinganywhere

        it has* ~ ;p

      • zeke

        Hate crimes? Like saying “build the wall”.

      • Rest of the World

        Outside of Cornell and the Huffington Post, not being a fanatical liberal isn’t a hate crime.

      • borris batanov

        Hate crimes are illegal. Call the cops, you know those people you swear and throw bricks at.

        No body needs your self-righteous a$$ on the street, telling the world how it is.

        BTW, my generation stopped the Vietnam war by marching, all legal, on DC.

        • Alumnus

          Our generation is also currently marching, all legally, on DC and universities and cities around the country. What’s the problem with either of these?

          • borris batanov

            Legally? Shooting, fires, Molotov cocktails, blocking major highways and streets, vandalizing businesses, beating Trump supporters, etc. could 0nly be a Progressive’s idea of “legal.”

            And what is the point of the demonstrations? You still have an opposition, the Democrats. And Trump got elected “legally.” Despite having a well-oiled political machine, despite having run for President for the last 10 years, and despite having spent almost 3 times as much as Trump, Hillary lost. The American people woke up. Hillary, simply, as Trump has said all along, is a “crook.”

            Why aren’t you Progressives out demonstrating against Hillary for using unfair practices to undermine Sanders?

        • Rizzo

          Funny that your generation marched against Vietnam and then marched your children and grandchildren into 2 others.

          But that’s the Boomers. Me, me, me, let someone else do it.

          Thanks for driving the economy into the ground also. Your great grandchildren might get out of your debt in their 50’s.

          • borris batanov

            I didn’t “march” anyone into any war.

            Fact: More people have been injured and killed in the US by blacks than all wars combined, since the Korean War. Maybe someone should march against this.

      • Red

        Explosion? If there is an explosion, it is anti-Trump protesters destroying property and attacking police.

  • ’19

    Hundreds did not “walk out” of class. The majority of these students probably didn’t have class at this time or didn’t go to class anyway. No one left my lecture with 200 students.

  • Bart

    Simpletons. How can those allegedly so smart be so dumb?

  • James ’93 and ’97

    If any place was going to have a meaningless protest, it would be my fair Cornell, the land of inflated angst.
    (I was at Cornell when students protested somewhat mysteriously by slashing the tennis bubble! So inventive, so ignorant!)

    This article has great pictures of well-dressed, well-groomed, and well-versed students enjoying their Ivy League free time.
    It is going to be tough for some of them to get jobs with their ignorant quotes easily searchable by companies and graduate schools.
    Hypocrites, most of them.
    How many of them have stopped in to see who lives at any of those broken down houses on Rte. 79 in Slaterville or outside of Whitney Point on their way to or from Cornell? You know the buildings, the houses with blue tarps and/or sheet metal for most of their roof. The same ones that have been there since my first visit to campus in 1988. I am betting not one student has even slowed down in Slaterville.
    The reason is because it is much easier to print fliers and buy a megaphone to have a cool protest than to even lend a helping hand or give a small donation to a campus neighbor.
    I am betting that each protester spends more money in Collegetown’s eateries than they donate in time or money to any charity.
    Some advice:
    If you want to help people, shut up, go to class, make something of yourself, and then give back as a powerful graduate of an Ivy League institution.
    Because right now, frankly, you look like spoiled children from the metro-New York suburbs trying to imply that you have real problems.

    Do you think Hillary Clinton would ever help those people in Slaterville, or even worry about those people, from her $3 million house in Chappaqua, NY? No. Neither did President Obama, nor did any other President.

    But will you, in all of your righteousness?

    • KT

      You make some pretty bold assumptions here about the reasoning of Trump voters. Here are the exit polls:

      They did not vote for Trump because he “cares about them”… overwhelmingly they voted for him because they thought he’d “bring needed change.”
      So, what’s the needed change they claimed to want? Terrorism and immigration were their two biggest issues… not so subtly veiled racism.

      Yes, Cornell is a privileged place (something the protest organizers were very sure to emphasize in their speeches…. you would know that if you had been there… so, again, avoid the assumptions)

      Finally, to rephrase your eloquent statement: Do you think Donald Trump would ever help those people in Slaterville, or even worry about those people, from any of his multi million dollar houses in NY, NY? No.

  • Not spoiled

    What exactly do you think Trump will do for the residents of Slaterville?
    If you believe he will have any concern for them, read this article and ask yourself – were you conned?

    • borris batanov

      I didn’t vote for Trump, or anyone else, because they “cared” for me. I voted for him to balance the budget and stimulate the economy. Will he? I hope so. One thing’s for sure, Hillary won’t. She and Obama represent The Combine (big banks, Wall St. & global, conglomerate megacorporations), which includes the lying media and political establishment whores, both Democrat and Republican.

      Fact: Obama’s gov’t collects record amounts of taxes each and every quarter, but still runs up the debt (now $20 trillion, more than 100% of the GDP). How long do you think this can last before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down? Even a dumb-a$$ Cornell undergraduate should be able to understand this.

      • Cu

        Obama said that Bush running our debt up to 10 trillion was criminal. It was one of the catchy sound bites that got him elected. Now debt is 20 trillion and accelerating. But miraculously, that’s not criminal. In fact, Obama is to be applauded for expert stewardship of the economy except the bad parts which are still Bush’s fault.

  • CornellVeritas

    As an Alumnus , I am rather disappointed at how brainwashed the young generation are by the liberal press. To form good opinions about Trump or Hillary, they need to do some research from many sources. What also helps is reading comments online highlighting what you may not know & validating it through other sources. We can no longer take “mainstream” news as objective news. We often find more articles reinforcing our opinions & subconsciously dismiss those that do not fit the story line. Remember what is important is what people do instead of what they say.

    Btw, skipping out on class is just stupid because you are paying the tuition.

  • borris batanov

    “Hate speech” is nothing but a flimsy excuse for censorship. Don’t like or want to deal with someone’s bothersome point of view? Then call it “hate speech.” Shout “racist” at them. Burn them at the stake, right Cornell?

    Faculty are slimy cowards, who throw sticks onto the flames. Worried foremost over their paychecks and tenure, embarrassed and shamed by knife-sharp Lesbians, this cadre of Animal Farm pigs would throw their own mothers into the slop. Heil! (Hitler has won.)

  • Too bad they don’t teach common sense to these “educated” kids that have not even gotten a degree yet. Here is a text book for you all to read: “On-the-Level: Common Sense, Technically Speaking”. You can find it on Amazon. Tell us about your “pain” after you read that.

    • Cynthia Green

      Oh c’mon. These Cornell “kids” are amazingly smart. And intellectually diverse. Thank God they care about the world. Thank God Cornell supports an environment of electricity in thought. At Harvard, where I live and teach, they watched the results and then turned back to their homework (seriously– compare the front page of the Cornell Daily sun to the Harvard Crimson on Nov 9). We have so much to be proud of as Cornell alumns and of our current Cornell population. Engaged concerned population. Agree, disagree, whatever – engagement is what matters. Okay you can tell by now that I was with her, but I’m also “with them.” Go Big Red. Kick butt in the next four years. I’ll be there too.

      • Red

        Intellectually diverse? Just the opposite. They all think alike. And the University requires it! Mandatory diversity training is not intellectual.

  • You young folks need to take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK. America is a nation of laws with a constitution, and you have nothing to fear.

    I guarantee you had Hillary won there would be no marches, no protest, just as there were none when President Obama was elected and re-elected. What you are doing is showing the country that the right side won.

    And as a man who is married to a (legal) Mexican immigrant, speaks Spanish and understands the reasons poor Mexicans come to this country, I say to that person holding the Mexican flag that it is offensive. I would never walk down some street in Mexico waving a US flag as a form of protest. You should recognize the reason that Mexicans have to come here illegally is because of the oligarchial system that keeps Mexico’s vast wealth (Yes, Mexico has every resource you can imagine) in the hands of the rich and powerful and offers little to no opportunity for the poor to get a good education a good job and rise up. Mexico itself is to blame for this immigration mess because of the corrupt way it treats its people.. You wave the wrong flag.

    Although it was an ugly campaign, the election Tuesday was fair and orderly. You should respect the result and instead of damning the winner, examine the deep flaws and corruption that made Clinton a loser.

    • Grad Worker at Cornell

      “Young folks” are taking a deep breath and screaming at the top of their lungs that they aren’t going to accept this, and thank God for that. What we saw on Tuesday was a version of fairness that dishonors the very word.

      Donald Trump got his foothold in politics by questioning (for years) whether the sitting president is a citizen, infecting public discourse. If you think that such a person–who has hectored freedom of the press, hinted that he would “rip up” treaties, dismissed the rights of detainees as well as the domestically convicted, the list goes on–cares one iota about what the constitution or the law says, you have not been paying attention. The president swears to uphold the constitution and the law. The oath is not, “I promise to denigrate and try to weasel out of the constitution, but will reluctantly submit to its constraints on my power.”

      I would also like to remind you that our hallowed “nation of laws” is at the whim of whomever sits on the Supreme Court. To wit: this year was the first modern election without the Voting Rights Act. How “fair and orderly” is an election where, I’m sure we will come to discover, thousands of voters were legally disenfranchised by the dozens of local laws passed in the wake of Shelby in red states–laws that are designed to constrain the minority and poor vote–not to mention Trump’s unsubtle call to vigilantes to monitor the polls?

      I’ll leave you with this historical tidbit.


      I said one day to an inhabitant of Pennsylvania: “Be so good
      as to explain to me how it happens that in a state founded by
      Quakers, and celebrated for its toleration, free blacks are not
      allowed to exercise civil rights. They pay taxes; is it not fair
      that they should vote?”

      “You insult us,” replied my informant, “if you imagine that
      our legislators could have committed so gross an act of injustice
      and intolerance.”

      “Then the blacks possess the right of voting in this

      “Without doubt.”

      “How comes it, then, that at the polling-booth this morning
      I did not perceive a single Negro?”

      “That is not the fault of the law. The Negroes have an
      undisputed right of voting, but they voluntarily abstain from
      making their appearance.”

      “A very pretty piece of modesty on their part!” rejoined I.

      “Why, the truth is that they are not disinclined to vote,
      but they are afraid of being maltreated; in this country the law
      is sometimes unable to maintain its authority without the support
      of the majority. But in this case the majority entertains very
      strong prejudices against the blacks, and the magistrates are
      unable to protect them in the exercise of their legal rights.”

      “Then the majority claims the right not only of making the
      laws, but of breaking the laws it has made?”

      Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)

  • Steve Crooks

    I had hoped a university education had continued to imbue an increased amount of knowledge. Such a disappointment to see all these folks down-campus being their usual selves. Some things never change.

  • Kai Segelkin

    I graduated from Cornell in 1979. I am glad to know it’s still decent.