By Kyana Miller and Amanda Bates
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writers
Following the anti-Trump rallies in Baltimore last week, an estimated 300 students, professors and other employees of Towson University staged a walkout Monday afternoon to voice their concerns over the Nov. 8 election of businessman Donald Trump as president.
The demonstration occurred at Freedom Square on the Towson campus and featured numerous speakers who called for reproductive rights, stronger environmental rules, and a more tolerant society.
According to Deb Moriarty, the vice president for student affairs at Towson, the walkout was organized by a group called the Social Justice Collective.
“This was the most diverse student activism event I’ve seen in the 13 years I’ve worked here,” Moriarty said. “I’m so happy for students, but I’m also very sad for them.”
Student groups took to the mic as well. The Towson Prayer Circle led the protesters in a chant, yelling: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Towson student Emily Fields said that since the election, she has become fearful for herself and the well being of others.
“I have a lot to lose, as a woman, as a rape victim,” Fields said. “But compared to a lot of people, I don’t have a lot to lose.”
“I transferred here because I wanted to get away from a college that hated me because of the activism I did around sexual assault,” Fields added.
A Trump supporter interrupted the rally, objecting to the protester’s message. Several students surrounded him as the incident almost came to physical violence, but police stepped in before the situation escalated.
According to a response on Towson University’s official Twitter page, the Trump supporter chose to leave the event on his own, but police followed him out for his safety.
Everyone who attended the event was passionate in their beliefs, though each had different causes they were advocating.
Darby Smith, a senior double majoring in Animal Behavior and Biology, said she attended the rally to voice her concerns for reproductive rights as well as protecting the planet from climate change.
Smith’s fear for the environment comes following the news that President-elect Trump appointed Myron Ebell, a known climate change skeptic, to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
“Issues like discrimination are valid, but they won’t even be an issue if the world ends and we don’t have anywhere to live,” Smith said.
Others were not as happy that professors and peers were taking time out of their classes to protest.
Students took to social media to voice their objections to the walkout.
Emily Meyers, a Towson University student and vocal Trump supporter, wrote on Facebook that students should be in class during the day, not protesting.
“I am completely appalled that Towson University is allowing faculty and students drop everything they’re doing tomorrow at noon and have an Anti-Trump protest,” she wrote. “It is absolutely ridiculous that I could be sitting in class and my professor decides to leave because they are upset with how the election turned out.”
While Meyers was not the only one in opposition, the people in attendance were happy to give their time.
“Just because he’s president [doesn’t mean] we need to put our heads in the ground and just accept it for the next four years,” said Luke Martin, a local activist.
Inspired by Shepard Fairey, the artist that did Obama’s ‘Hope’ campaign in 2008, Martin said he began designing posters with the slogan “Not My President.”
“If you’re familiar with [Fairey’s] work, it’s all very political based and he does it to promote activism, and awareness, and inspire change,” Martin said. “As an artist, now’s not the time to stay silent and content. Now is the time to go out and make sh*t and tape it up in Freedom Square and try to make a change.”