Presidential election focus of discussions, meetings

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Following last week’s presidential election, students, faculty and staff across the University have been organizing informal gatherings, round-tables and panel sessions to discuss this year’s election, related media coverage and the results.

These formal and informal meetings about the election offer everyone in the University community opportunities to participate and engage in civic discussions.

“Regardless of who you supported during the election, I urge you to focus on your role as part of the Penn State community, and to reflect upon who we are as Penn Staters,” said President Eric Barron in a message to the University community on Nov. 10.

Many events have already taken place across the University. Here is a look at some of the discussions that have happened and are scheduled to take place:


Tim Wise, an anti-racism activist and speaker, gave a talk on campus Nov. 14, analyzing the results by digging through history, from an Electoral College conceived in slavery to the Civil Rights era.

He reminded the audience that as a society, progress is rarely a straight path.

“I stressed to my two daughters that it’s natural for progress to be five steps forward and two steps back,” he said. “You need to remember this so events like this aren’t devastating.”


A post-election Town Hall, co-hosted by the chancellor's office and the Office of Student Affairs, will take place at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at Slep Student Center, Pond View Lounge. The Town Hall will give members of the campus community an opportunity to come together and discuss core values and expectations for civility and positive discourse at Penn State Altoona.

The Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity will offer Coffee and Conversation at 12 noon on Friday, Nov. 18, in the Eiche Library, room 211. It is part of the ongoing discussion centered on civil discourse and the core values of Penn State. 


More than 50 students, faculty members and staff attended a “Moving Forward” forum at Penn State Behrend on Thursday, Nov. 10. The discussion was hosted by the Multi-Cultural Council, a student club, and was led by a faculty member, a lecturer in communication and English. Throughout the discussion, students spoke openly about their experiences with racism and sexual discrimination in and beyond Erie. They also talked about how best to partner with neighboring institutions to support minority students on other campuses. Chancellor Ralph Ford attended along with the senior director of campus planning and student affairs. Representatives of our personal counseling and educational equity offices also participated.


Professor Stanley Brand, who oversees the Semester-in-Washington Program and teaches election law, has planned “Preparing for the Trump Presidency,” in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18:

Associate Dean and Professor of Law Carla Pratt has altered her Constitutional Law II syllabus to include a paper writing assignment on the following topic: How a Trump Presidency Will Impact Constitutional Law.


A post-election round table discussion about the election results for all students is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 during the common hour.

Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson noted in an email to the campus community: “It is important for you to have the opportunity for your voices to be heard, to share your hopes and fears, and to continue to move forward as a campus community.”


Arts and Architecture

A “wall of light” will be created by participants starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Walters Courtyard, in front of the Theatre Building. The event includes recording a video of a two song mashup: "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest" and "Let The Sun Shine.”

Following the event, participants will cover themselves with lights and create a wall of light to float around campus. “We will push out the darkness and hate with light and love. So we can leave for break with a little peace and sense of community in our hearts.”

Penn State Law

Professor Shoba Wadhia, director of Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, is hosting a “Community Dialogue Addressing Race, Immigration, and Diversity Post-Election” at 6 p.m. Nov. 17 in 329 Innovation Blvd, Suite 118, with members of the school district, law enforcement, and community organizations.

The Immigrants’ Rights clinic has created a resource page for “Immigration After the Election” with information on immigration law and hate crimes, and resources for the immigrant community: