Approximately 1,000 UC Santa Barbara students took to the streets in protest early Wednesday morning after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
The crowd formed on the San Nicolas Residence Hall lawn at 1 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after election results were confirmed. Students soon began running out of the residence halls toward the University Center to join a crowd that swarmed through the Pardall Tunnel into Isla Vista.
Fabiola Esqueda, a first-year undeclared major and reporter for KCSB news, was one of the students who initiated the protest on the San Nicolas lawn. During the protest’s initial stages, she said men were screaming out from residence hall windows, “saying they were going to rape us.”
“It motivated us, we just continued protesting, we continued saying what we felt needed to be said,” she said. “And it showed through everything that it actually matters. That people are actually here and it’s a big thing.”
At every step of the way new protesters joined the ranks. Several students on Del Playa balconies ran out into the crowd to support the movement, but a few individuals yelled unrelated quips, such as “R.I.P for Harambe.”
After passing around the loop in I.V. and heading back through Pardall Road, the protest ended in a swirling mass at the base of Storke tower. The Student Activist Network offered students a megaphone and a safe space for peaceful protest.
Hundreds of students march from freshman dorms to I.V. chanting “Fuck Donald Trump” and “Not my president.” pic.twitter.com/8wx7dU01GA
— Daily Nexus (@dailynexus) November 9, 2016
“People aren’t safe anymore,” Michael Kile, fifth-year chemical engineering major and community organizer said. “My friend was crying and breaking down. Everyone out here has to join marginalized groups in solidarity.”
Initially numbering at 100 to 150 students, the protest reached peak levels of 1,000 by the time it ended at 2 a.m. Approximately 20 officers from the University Police Department were present, but no arrests were reported, and the gathering remained peaceful for its entire duration.
“I understand your pain. I understand your anger. The DNC made this happen,” said a male student speaking with megaphone. “Bernie won this election, and now they choose a fucking fascist over Hillary.”
“It was really heartbreaking going throughout the night seeing residents cry, calling their parents and trying to feel better.” — Lorena Alvarez
“Violence may feel good right now,” said another student under Storke Tower. “That is not the way to make people see that what we’re doing is right.”
A student behind the speakers sported a Mexican flag, prompting chants of “Viva la Mexico.” A College Republican and Trump supporter proudly waved an American flag, and others shouted ,“light it on fire!”
Students at the beach near the CHI-5 residence halls were celebrating the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana by toking the piff. The quiet was disturbed by faint screaming of “Fuck Donald Trump!” as the protest gained steam. Nearing 1:30 a.m., the protest could also be heard from the 68 block of Isla Vista.
Students throughout the University of California organized similar protests in response to Trump’s victory, including those at UC Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, San Diego and Riverside campuses.
According to the Daily Bruin, hundreds of students walked down Bruin Walk toward Westwood Village and proceeded to burn a Donald Trump piñata while others tried to flip a car, stopping only when they realized a man was inside the vehicle.
Trump supporters standing on the streets of I.V. were proudly sporting Trump banners and apparel as they watched students walk by. Their banners and hats were ripped out of their hands by protesters as the march progressed.
“We are a group of Trump supporters that are stoked that Trump just won, that democracy won,” Andrew Cavarno, a recent UCSB alumnus, said. “The people made their voices clear.”
A student in the crowd sported a foot-long bong, smoking marijuana while telling anyone and everyone that would listen that it was “legal.”
Kristen Armellini, deputy chief of staff for the external vice president of local affairs, said she began crying after election results were announced due to all the people who would face adversity during the new presidency.
“I literally had a friend text me saying he’s scared to go out now because he’s Arab, and he’s scared his brother is going to get bullied at school,” she said.
Armellini added that the group of Trump supporters at the rally were not accomplishing anything.
“I just think it’s dumb to be sitting here with your guy friends, literally not a single person of color … just getting a laugh out of people that are actually thinking about the people they love and fearing for their lives,” she said. “I honestly feel unsafe in this country now.”
Lorena Alvarez, a resident assistant in San Miguel and a third-year English major, said she witnessed a lot of “grieving, crying and just trying to stay strong together” after Trump’s election.
Because Trump “targeted specifically the Latinx community,” she said, a large group from the residence hall was encouraged to join the protest.
“I basically had a community of folks that were specifically targeted, calling their parents, feeling scared for their lives, thinking they wouldn’t be here tomorrow thinking they won’t even graduate,” she said. “It was really heartbreaking going throughout the night seeing residents cry, calling their parents and trying to feel better.”
Students have planned another rally Wednesday at 12 p.m. in Storke Plaza to continue discussion about the election and open up more additional opportunities for activism.
“For me personally, it’s just uplifting the communities I belong in, as a Chicana, I’m all about uplifting in Latina spaces,” Alvarez said. “And as much as I’d love to organize a few focusing on my residents, focusing on myself is what matters.”
Megan Mineiro, Josh Bevan, Allison Garfield, Karenina Alfaro, Malire Lozada, Jack Hu, Soham Tikekar and Gerardo Banuelos contributed reporting.
Update: The march could also be heard from the 68 block of Isla Vista.
Update: The next march will be Wednesday at 12 p.m.