FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2016
NCLC Statement on 2016 Election
The many challenges facing millions of college students today will remain unchanged unless student leaders engage at all levels of decision-making. In that spirit, we extend a hand to President-elect Donald Trump, the 115th U.S. Congress, and statehouses with hope to find new partners in strengthening the role of student leadership in our national discourse. Elected officials in every corner of the country have a responsibility to engage with student leaders in efforts to solve pressing issues facing our country.
We are gravely concerned about the potentially negative impact this election could have on higher education and students’ lives. Federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau all play an integral role in shaping higher education and how students navigate their finances, health, and safety. Congress has a host of highly consequential decisions to make as it still needs to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The work that has been done in NCLC’s lifetime to curb campus sexual assault, tackle student loan debt, improve mental health services, and create more inclusive campus communities is at risk if our new elected leaders are not committed to the offices tasked with protecting students’ rights or listening to students’ perspectives. We know that student leaders, regardless of how they voted this election, are paying close attention to the presidential transition even as they continue driving their work at the institutional level.
We also recognize that this election season was long, divisive, and surfaced a stream of hateful rhetoric that degraded and retraumatized students on every campus. Nationwide, many student governments have already created spaces for their communities to begin healing, and we encourage others to take their lead. We cannot let the divides many Americans feel today prevent us from coming together across ideologies to ensure students are safe from hate crimes and gender-based violence on and off campus. We challenge students to listen to each other and act to fight policies and practices that prevent students from moving forward on this important work.
We will continue to prioritize strengthening student leadership throughout the country. As we work toward that goal, students must rise above this year’s toxic political environment and serve as leaders willing to create bridges and see the humanity in others. We are at a unique time in our country’s history, and the nation will look to you for inspiration in the months and years ahead.