Coming to a different country can be exciting and daunting at the same time. One may be looking forward to meeting new people, traveling to new places or trying out the local cuisine. However, as we move forward politically, there have been dialogues on differing political ideologies in and around Santa Clara.
As a prospective international student in America, you might be having mixed feelings and second thoughts about coming because of President Trump’s stance on several issues such as jobs, immigration and so on, which would favor an American over an immigrant. But you are not alone if you have those thoughts. There have been many individuals at Santa Clara University who have been having those thoughts but are openly expressing them.The university has also provided various outlets to assist the students in any way possible. These outlets include the Multicultural Club, International Students & Scholars Services, and Campus Ministry.
Looking at the facts from the 2016 Presidential elections, almost 60% of California voted for Hillary Clinton and moreover in Santa Clara county almost 70% voted for her. And since most individuals did not vote for Donald Trump as their President, there have been many protests and riots in some cases in and around Santa Clara County.
One of the most recent events that involved riots was at the college campus of University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley is just an hour away from Santa Clara University and in general SCU community members’ expresses similar political ideologies as them. On February 1st, Berkeley College Republicans invited public speaker Milo Yiannopoulos to the campus. His presence on campus was met with protests and riots and according to the university, “The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto campus and interrupted an otherwise non-violent protest.” You can read more about it here.
Referring to these kind of incidents, there have been talks about personal safety, freedom of speech and the difference between free speech and hate speech. There have been times when individuals have been fearful of voicing their support for the President or any of his policies because many believe supporting President Trump is a negative thing.
I am a freshman at the university and support most policies of President Trump. There have been some friends advising me not to voice my opinion publicly due to the situation around us but I have never felt safer than in Santa Clara University. I wouldn’t say everyone but comparatively most people at SCU are comfortable with having open dialogues on political issues. Referring to the incident at UC Berkeley which I described earlier, I do not think anything as such would ever occur at SCU but rather it would be done in a peaceful way.
Recently at Santa Clara University, the Associate Student Government rejected the formation of Turning Point USA, a conservative club, as a Registered Student Organization. The disappointed members of the Turning Point USA appealed to the administration about it and the administration overturned the decision of the ASG claiming that everyone should be allowed to express their views freely. More information about this can be found here.
I feel privileged to have come to SCU as this has been a place where individuals have been accepted irrespective of their political beliefs.