According to an article published by CBS Philly at approximately 9 p.m. on Friday, April 22, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will be holding a rally at West Chester University on Monday, April 25.
The article stated that the rally will take place in Hollinger Field House, which holds around 3,700 people, and will begin at 4 p.m.
In an email sent by Rebecca Hook, senior associate to interim WCU President Christopher Fiorentino, faculty was notified that “West Chester University received a call from the Trump Campaign on Friday, April 22, requesting to hold a rally at the university.”
“As a public institution of higher learning that provides open-access educational facilities, West Chester University does not endorse the views of any political party or candidate,” said the email. “West Chester University is committed to upholding an academic learning environment that engages a variety of thoughts, opinions and expressions.”
Freshman Aaron Gallant was happy to hear about the announcement of Trump’s impending arrival, as he hopes students will organize a protest against the candidate.
“I’m glad it’s happening because it’s really nice that we have the ability to declare our dissatisfaction with Trump and his hateful policies,” said Gallant.
Meanwhile, sophomore Halle Nelson was more worried by the news.
“I don’t want a candidate who advocates for violence at his rallies through racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc. to visit our school,” said Nelson. “West Chester University is meant to be a safe space for students, and I fear that his hate-filled rhetoric will result in a ripple-effect of intolerance in our school.”
Sophomore Corinne Taicher expressed similar sentiments.
“I’m incredibly frustrated that West Chester University has agreed to let a man speak who preaches hate and distrust in a time when we need understanding and peace,” said Taicher. “It also [is] a great disrespect to Muslim and Hispanic students on this campus who have been clear and consistent targets for his racist rhetoric.”
Nancy Gainer, executive director of communications, was cited in the CBS Philly article as stating that “they were surprised Trump chose [to visit] West Chester.”
According to Gainer, the university expects Trump’s campaign stop to be a big event.
“I think it’s something that’ll draw all types of citizens,” Gainer said. “People from the community, people from various parts of the region. I think it’ll be a draw for a lot of individuals.”
According to the email from Hook, D Lot, which is the parking lot between Hollinger Gym and Lawrence Hall, will be closed on Sunday, April 24 and Monday, April 25.
“In our effort to manage parking for this event, Parking Services is working to help WCU employees and students find other options for parking on Sunday and Monday,” said the email. “We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.”
The email also stated that “university public safety officers will work closely with West Chester Police and U.S. Secret Service to ensure the safety of all students, employees and visitors.”
Casey Tobias is a second-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and communication studies with minors in journalism and German. She can be reached at CT822683@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @Casey__Tobias.