How the 2020 Election has affected Students and Staff at SUNY Broome

(Photo illustration by Natasha Vicens/PublicSource)

Thomas Corey |

November 3rd, 2020 has arrived. A day in which many people are claiming is the most important election of our lifetime. At SUNY Broome, many students find themselves anxiously awaiting the results of the election and thinking about how it could change their futures. Chairperson of the Communications and Media arts department, Timothy Skinner and retired history professor Douglass Garner offer their thoughts about the impact of the election on students and how it may affect their future. 

Douglas C. Garnar, who was a longtime Professor at SUNY Broome, has spent much of his career involved in civic engagement and providing resources and opportunities for students to get involved in local politics. In his 43+ years of teaching, he has directed much of his energy towards helping students become involved in the community. Garnar states that this election is one of the most important elections in history and shares that in all of his years in politics, he has never seen anything quite like this.

Garnar believes that the participation of people of color, LGBTQ, women, and other groups involved in politics is very important in this election. Under the Trump administration, these communities of people may become vulnerable to the current presidents damaging beliefs and policies.

Garnar strongly believes it is very important for students and young people to pick an issue they feel strongly about, to explore it and find a related organization in the community and participate in it. “Take what your passion is and find a connection, state level, national level, or in the community.”

Garnar believes that younger generations are going to shape the future. He states the best things young people can do for themselves and others is to make use of critical thinking skills and to become active in social issues they are passionate about. 

Communications professor and coordinator Timothy Skinner observes that many students and staff are feeling tension, due to the impending results of the election. “The fear of the unknown.” Skinner believed that the current Trump administration has had various impacts on students in the communications field. 

“On one hand, the term “fake news” has been used more than ever, especially, when we want to dismiss something that we don’t necessarily believe in. On the other hand, I do think it encourages people to really take a look at journalism and really question the sources and question the validity of what is being said from those sources on all sides of the political spectrum. There seems to be an increase in journalism and voting turn out.” 

Student Hannah White shares her feelings about the election, as she hopes for a “simple, clean, good election.” “I am a little worried about how people will react, I think there will be a lot of protesting either way. That’s anxiety-inducing, because not all protests are peaceful.” As a communications major, White feels as though her studies have been undermined and insulted by Donald Trump. “I think as a communications major, the way our current President talks about the media is kind of damaging to us as journalists and future journalists. It’s damaging that the leader of our country is trash talking our profession. White lists her main issues she’s focused on politically is gay marriage and climate change. 

For some students, the results of the election may drastically change their life. Student Ben Ashbaugh explains that his dad is elderly and worries that a continuing Trump administration may endanger the life of his father. “I feel very anxious. If he does win, my dad and I are ready to move out of the country. He cannot live in a Trump health system, it will kill him.” Ashbaugh lists free college as a major concern of his, but is disappointed that neither candidate seems to be pushing for that.

Student Jackson Hodge is voting for others who may be less fortunate than him, and those who could be undermined by the win of Donald Trump. “I used to get worked up and anxious every time an election came around, but at this point I just kind of let things be. I’ll vote, I’ll use my voice, I’ll do what I can, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, and I have to make the best of it. 

Student Matthew Bohn expresses concerns that President Trump’s handling of the virus may negatively affect the ability to pursue his career. “This election is going to have a massive impact on the rest of my career, being in communications and media arts, my whole passion is learning how to film people. The coronavirus has kept me from doing that. Who wins this election will have a massive impact on how long this virus goes on. It’s very clear Trump does not care about the thousands of Americans who have died from the coronavirus. I feel like the fact we’re in this boat right now and the fact that this election is still a toss up is proof that America’s hubris is going to be America’s destruction if we don’t change the shape that we think of things.”

Justin Quiles, a centrist, feels disappointment in the two candidates running. “The unfortunate thing about our two party system is that it’s really hard to find a candidate that represents everyone.” Quiles feels it’s important to be a student, not just in school, but in life, and to “learn as much as you can about what you’re passionate about.” 

Looking towards the future, Quiles hopes for other political parties to gain traction, so that the people have more than two choices going into an election. “Someday I want to be able to pick someone that my conscience truly supports. My biggest philosophy in politics is that we need to understand that both sides are a part of the whole.”

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