Campus offers support services after presidential election

The college community has made a variety of support services available to students to address their concerns after the presidential election. Programs were offered by multiple student organizations, and staff members were also available to provide counseling. The Geneseo Black Student Union and the Geneseo Latino Student Association held the first student support group on Thursday Nov. 10 in the Fireside Lounge; approximately 100 people attended. The event was primarily an expanded version of a regular meeting of the two clubs, according to BSU public relations representative sociology major junior Leah Chin.

“Instead of having a regular meeting, we just decided to have a healing session with LSA,” she said. “We had an open space for anybody to come and voice their opinions about the election, cry or whatever they felt they needed to do to make themselves feel comfortable.”

Geneseo Pride Alliance held its own event, also on Thursday Nov. 10, to discuss and provide support for students. It was held in the Hunt Room and approximately 60 people attended.

At the Pride meeting, Spanish major sophomore Jasmine Weed expressed her concerns about the election.

“The problem is that all the people that support [Trump] now see that him being elected has basically given their hatred a voice and shown that their hatred is OK,” she said.

Beyond the meetings of specific clubs and organizations, there were also two meetings for students interested in partaking in activism projects. The first of these meetings was on Friday Nov. 11 and the second on Sunday Nov. 13. Organizers of the events were affiliated with the Alliance for Community Enrichment and the advocacy club Students Against Social Injustice.

History major sophomore Jeanmarie Ryan said she enjoyed the proactive approach of these discussions.

“It was nice to feel like I was actually doing something to fix things; I felt less helpless,” she said. “It was also nice that the people leading it were thinking in practical terms about things we could actually do, instead of just coming up with idealistic solutions.”

Student Health & Counseling has also taken a role in supporting students after the election, according to a campus-wide email from Administrative Director of Health & Counseling Erin Halligan-Avery. H&C held two support sessions on Tuesday Nov. 15 and Wednesday Nov. 16. The last of the three support groups will be held on Monday Nov. 21.

President Battles also sent out an email outlining staff members who can provide support for students, including Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Community Leonard Sancilio, Assistant Dean of Students for Fraternal Life and Off Campus Services Wendi Kinney, Coordinator of Student Conduct and Community Standards Heather York, Assistant Dean of Students for Multicultural Programs and Services Fatima Rodriguez Johnson and Coordinator for LGBTQ Programs & Services Dillon Federici.

Rodriguez Johnson commented on how she perceived student’s responses to the election.

“Immediately following the election results, that Wednesday when I arrived to campus, for the most part I saw students who really were hurting,” she said. “Many were afraid, some had some anxiety about what it meant for their experiences not only here on campus, but in the communities that they live in … because of some of the rhetoric during the election. Students wanted to connect with other students, reflect, be together with one another and students also wanted to know about whether the campus community is supportive and were looking for outward visible signs of that.”

Multicultural students also had the opportunity to speak with President Battles on Thursday Nov. 10, according to Rodriguez Johnson.

“That meeting was planned well in advance, but being in a space with the president and sharing directly with her what the concerns are was really important for people and they appreciated that,” she said.

The college is planning more programs focused on inclusivity, according to Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio.

“We have established a means of communicating with all parents shared information about students, which we didn’t have until today,” he said. “We also have a president’s commission on diversity and community that is concerned with issues of inclusivity and community, and they will continue to carry on with their work.”

Looking to the future, the college is concerned with continuing its current assistance system, according to Bonfiglio.

“There are so many things that take place related to diversity on this campus,” he said. “I think they’ll continue to take place over the coming months. All I can say is that the college will continue to work on all the things it’s been working on, but also reinforce the availability of support for students who feel the need for support.”

Assistant News Editor Mike Powers contributed reporting to this article.