Despite its hallmark diversity, NYU is predominantly liberal on the political spectrum. This leaves one group uncharacteristically quiet in the political conversation on campus: supporters of Donald Trump.
However, this does not mean Trump supporters do not exist on campus. According to Tandon junior Jillian Spataro, who plans to vote for Donald Trump, the negative attitude toward Trump makes them reluctant to speak their minds.
“I know what the spirit of the campus is so I keep quiet about my views just because it makes the day go easier,” Spataro said. “I do hear the side comments and see the Facebook pages. As a registered Republican, it’s just easier for me to turn a blind eye instead of getting involved.”
One Stern freshman, who asked not to be named, recounted receiving looks from NYU students and staff alike while wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat.
“When I tell people I’m a Trump supporter, they just laugh it off,” he said. “They don’t like to believe that there are non-white Trump supporters. But once you wear the hat, you accept the fact that people aren’t going to like you, but it feels pretty weird to hide my political beliefs in a place that is so diverse.“
Tandon junior Dylan Perera said that in the few times he has divulged his political standpoint, NYU students have not reacted well.
“People usually react very negatively, sometimes even violently,” Perera said. “One time someone started screaming in my face. I forgot exactly how it came out, but I ended up saying that I do support Trump, and then everything went south right away.”
Although the Stern freshman knows several other Trump supporters on campus, he suspects that incidents like these contribute to their lack
“There are definitely a decent number of Trump supporters at NYU that are hiding in the closet,” he said. “Like me, most of them don’t even support absolutely everything Trump says, like building a wall and deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants.”
The students who support Trump felt that it was hypocritical for the student body to be so hostile toward Trump supporters.
“This campus can be inclusive, but only to a point,” Spataro said. “Just like the world in general, they claim they’re inclusive, but up to a point.”
“A lot of students preach tolerance and open-mindedness,” Perera said. “But when someone comes that goes against their viewpoint, they automatically disregard all of that open-mindedness and tolerance. I think it hurts the dialogue. I always try to understand every side. You can’t demonize the people that hold a viewpoint; you have to try to understand them and where they are coming from. That’s when you can have a constructive dialogue.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 28 print edition. Email Taylor Nicole Rogers at [email protected]