Against the grain

LIHUE — Edison Erorita was opening his email Wednesday morning when he was sent a letter from the University of Hawaii system that classes will still be running today.

Confused, Erorita didn’t understand why an email saying he still had class at Kauai Community College was necessary.

“I was wondering ‘why did they send me this?’ I guess some people aren’t even going to go to school that day because of Trump’s inauguration.”

Donald Trump will be inaugurated today as the next president of the United States, sparking protests and marches across the nation, particularly from the country’s student population.

Hawaii J20, a group organized by students, staff and faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is organizing a “Day of Resistance” to express their opposition to Trump’s inauguration.

“Trump is the harbinger of ever more climate catastrophe, deportation, discrimination, and endless war. Trump and his surrogates celebrate a “post-fact” society and openly embrace violence, racism, misogyny, nationalist xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. We must show that no election could legitimize his agenda,” said Nandita Sharma, associate professor of sociology at UHM in a news release.

While UH’s flagship campus has students organizing protests, students at KCC don’t plan on organizing a protest of that magnitude.

Or any such protest, for that matter.

“I find that we are not as energetic in our political debates as some of the larger campuses. Nobody will be jumping up or down or screaming and shouting,” said Gary Ellwood, instructor and marketing specialist at KCC.

The fact that no student protests will be happening on Kauai may come as a surprise to many, except for the actual students themselves.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I think there’s very few protests that happen here that don’t specifically relate to Kauai,” said Shaina Nacion, managing editor of KCC’s student publication. “I think people here care about what’s going on in their community, but they’re not necessarily as passionate about things going on, on the outside.”

Nacion told The Garden Island students on the mainland are upset about Trump’s racial remarks that he made during his campaign, but said that his comments don’t have much of an effect on a place as diverse as Kauai.

“Here on Kauai, all the cultures are so intermingled that we don’t really have the same sort of racism. Yes, we do have discrimination, but it’s not as systematic as it is on the mainland,” she said.

Nacion said that if there was a protest on campus today, she would not directly participate but would be interested in what people had to say.

Erorita feels the same way.

“I wouldn’t necessarily participate, I already voted and know where I stand,” Erorita said. “I’m about positive movement going forward. The people have already spoken. Why don’t we just try to do as much as we can the best that we can and try to move forward together?”

But for student Victoria Aiu, she has other things to spend time thinking about than concerning herself over Trump.

“I’ve been neutral to the whole thing. I try to stay out of politics,” Aiu said. “I’ve heard about all the protests and everything going on because it just floods my Tumblr and it’s just like, ‘OK, that’s happening over there, that’s fine’, so I tend to scroll past it. It’s not happening over here. I think people will talk about it and say ‘oh, that’s terrible,’ and then go back to sipping their tea.”

And while Kauai may not have any student participation regarding Friday’s protests, Nacion thinks that a lot of students are holding their tongue, waiting to see how Trump does after he takes office.

“A lot of people here are hesitant to protest something when Trump isn’t even in office, making decisions,” Nacion said. “I think people could be waiting to see how he does when he’s actually in power.”


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