WATERVILLE — Jolted by the election of Donald Trump as president and his vows to crack down on immigration, hundreds of Colby College students marched across campus Thursday and called on people to stand up and take action against injustice, bigotry, hate and violence.

More than 300 students and some staff and faculty members packed Pulver Pavilion in the Cotter Union at noon to show support for undocumented students and those who are part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012. The initiative gives undocumented youth a temporary reprieve from deportation, among other protections, and helps hundreds of thousands of people lawfully work, get driver’s licenses and bank accounts, and travel.

About 75 students joined more than 100 faculty members in signing a letter last month to the Colby administration, urging that undocumented youth be protected and supported, as Trump vowed to cancel the DACA program on his first day in office. The letter urges the administration to act quickly to make arrangements that will ensure that students the college welcomed and pledged to support with financial aid will continue to receive the college’s welcome and support.

“In being here today, we affirm that our student body stands in solidarity with people of color, members of all faith, the queer community, immigrants, women, and environmental efforts, both within our immediate communities and all over the world,” said sophomore Chloe Powers, 19, and a global studies major minoring in women and gender studies. “We want to live in a place that recognizes injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and that attacks on any member of our community cannot be overlooked or pushed aside.”

Colby President David Greene in a letter to the campus last month reaffirmed Colby’s commitment to those who are vulnerable.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment to a deep and abiding respect for our shared humanity and let our differences in backgrounds, experiences, identities and cultural and political beliefs be a source of strength and discovery,” Greene’s letter states. “I can assure you that we will do all in our power to secure the safety of our community members, no matter their nationality, immigration status, race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity and that we will fight policies that run counter to our mission of educating the most talented students from across the country and around the world.”


Greene is among more than 200 college and university presidents who have signed a statement supporting DACA and urging business, civic, religious and nonprofit organizations to join them in supporting DACA and undocumented immigrant students.

Powers, a member of Colby’s multicultural planning board, and three other women stood on the bridge overlooking Cotter Union before the crowd marched outside and across campus to stand on the Miller Library steps.

The protesters held signs with slogans including “Colby Stands Against Hate.”

Standing beside Powers, senior Anne Vetter, 22, president of Bridge, an LGBTQ-allied organization on campus, said practicing solidarity doesn’t just stop at public performance. Showing up at public events such as Thursday’s is important, but it is not sufficient, she said.

People must examine themselves and their actions, understand that they are perhaps compliant in the creation of a country that hates and punishes so many people, and be willing to align themselves with communities to which they may not belong, according to Vetter, an anthropology and art major.

“It’s not like this country suddenly became racist, xenophobic, homophobic, trans-phobic on the day of the election. I think these issues just became more apparent to those of us who don’t experience them,” said Vetter, of Kentfield, California. “However, there is greater urgency now. People are going to suffer; people are going to die. They already are now.”


Elizabeth Paulino, 20 and a junior from Auburn, Massachusetts, said students were standing in solidarity with those supported by DACA, also called “dreamers.” Paulino is a member of the multicultural programming board at Colby and a First Generation to College Fellow.

“All people in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution,” she said.

Senior Maggie Burgos, 21, said it is time for people to feel the rage and tell others how angry they are.

“Let’s do it together,” said Burgos, of Arlington, Virginia, who is co-president of Colby’s Feminist Alliance.

The women urged the crowd to chant. “What do you want?” they asked.

“Justice!” the crowd responded.


“When do we want it?”


“If we don’t get it?” the women asked.

“Shut it down,” members of the crowd shouted in unison.

Marching to the library, elbow-to-elbow with other students, freshman Joe Salazar, 19, said he is a feminist and a minority.

“I’m pro-freedom and I don’t support any of Trump’s ways or policies,” he said, adding that Colby is a predominantly liberal school where people are educated and will not stand for injustice.


“We’re going to fight against the system,” he said.

Senior Claire Muscat, 22 and a classics major from Cape Elizabeth, led chants as she marched with her peers.

“We are unstoppable. Another world is possible,” she shouted.

Marching up the library steps, Muscat said she has been inspired by leaders on campus who have organized the movement against hate, bigotry and violence.

“We stand against hate,” she said. “We don’t want to be compliant in a society that is structurally designed to oppress an enormous amount of people and we don’t condone actions of the president-elect or the implications of his being elected, and his Cabinet members.”

Students said a variety of groups on campus supported Thursday’s event, including the Asian Student Association, Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity, the Colby Outing Club, Student Health on Campus and the Student Government Association.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]lmaine.com

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.