Related: Social Issues, Social Justice Issues, Trinity, Women, Women's Leadership

Straw Poll: CAS New Students Speak Out!


photo of index cards from straw poll(a few replies from the new student convocation straw poll)

During the New Student Convocation, we asked our new students to answer some questions in a straw poll — we conducted this poll the old fashioned way, with index cards and pens!  The answers were very illuminating.  Below is a summary of the answers and some select comments from the cards:

Question about Meeting with President Trump

Question:  If you had the chance to meet with President Trump for five minutes to discuss an issue that is extremely important for you and your families, what would that issue be?

IMMIGRATION and related issues (DACA, deportations, The Wall) was the overwhelming answer — 105 out of 221 replies, or 47%

RACISM, Police Brutality, Islamophobia, Women’s Rights and related issues was the next largest category — 39 replies or 18%

Other topics included Healthcare, Education, Free College, North Korea, threats of war, peacebuilding, human rights, transgender rights, environmental protection, jobs, Russia, Venezuela, taxes, minimum wage.  A number of answers also were critical of the president’s behaviors.  Our newest Trinity Women are watching and they are not happy with what they are seeing in the leadership model the president presents.

On the immigration issue, these are some of the typical comments:

A number of comments pointed out that immigrants came here because they believe the United States is a great country and they want to contribute to it:

“I would talk to him about not ending DACA because DACA is the last option some students have to further their education.  I would talk to him about not discriminating against a certain group of people just because of where they came from.”

“I would ask him why he wants to kick out so many productive members of society.   So many of us came here because we believe this is a better country…”

“I would focus on immigration and DACA rights.  I would strongly state my opinion on how we people of color deserve to be given an opportunity to accomplish a dream and a chance to live in a country where freedom should not be denied to anyone.  Our parents struggled to give us a better life, and our parents still struggle to provide everything to us.  Immigrants aren’t here to steal anything but to better ourselves.  Dreamers only want to be able to contribute and provide for their families.  No matter the obstacles he throws at us, we will fight for our rights; we will not let him bring us down.”

“If I could meet with Donald Trump, I would tell him that this racism has to end, all this hate that he’s bringing to this world cannot be tolerated.  My family and I are so tired of being treated differently because we’re immigrants.  We’re tired of hiding and feeling like we don’t belong.”

“I would tell him that there is no way the U.S. can make it without immigrants.  I also now that there is a small percentage that represent us badly.  But that doesn’t mean that we all are like that.  Since he is a business man he knows that having us here is a great boost to the economy.”

“I would encourage President Trump to work toward making amnesty possible for hard-working families.  As stated in the Declaration of Independence, our inalienable rights are ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ ”

“We all have the right to a better future.”

“I would ask why he feels the need to mistreat people who want a better life for their families.”

“I would discuss ‘the wall’ he is trying to build to keep immigrants from entering the U.S.  It is a waste of time and money.”

“This country was founded and built by immigrants.”

Many comments pointed out that deportation is breaking up families, which goes against family values:

“Respect and support family values, keep them unified and not separated.”

“Families should not be separated.”

“I would ask him why he took my family away.”

Questions about Monuments

 Question 1:  Should monuments to Confederate leaders be taken down?  (total respondents 219)

Yes:  70%  (n=154)
No:   25%  (n=56)
Depends or no opinion:  5% (n=13)

Sample reasons:

“No, because although it [Confederate monuments] has a very bad connotation, it is a part of history that people should be able to talk about… it is a reminder not to go back.”

“No, because it is part of American history.”

“I don’t think they should be taken down because they are history and people deserve to know what they have done to this country.”

“Yes, Confederate statues should be taken down because they no longer represent what America stands for.”

“Yes, Confederate monuments…were meant to be constant reminders of racism and division.  Although part of history, they have no place on the streets and instead should be placed in museums.”

“Yes the Confederate leaders should be taken down and put in a museum so we do not repeat the same mistakes.”

Question 2:  If you could organize creation of a public monument recognizing one person in history who you admire a lot, who would that person be?

President Barack Obama – 60 votes
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 18 votes
Rosa Parks – 18 votes
Michelle Obama – 12 votes
Harriet Tubman – 10 votes
Abraham Lincoln – 4 votes
Malcolm X – 4 votes
Nelson Mandela – 3 votes

Many other notable figures received votes for monuments including:

Pope Francis John Lewis Madam Walker Sojourner Truth Mother Theresa
Billie Holiday Sonia Sotomayor Beyonce Oprah Trayvon Martin
Nannie H. Burroughs Benito Juarez Paul Walker Nina Simone Chuck Brown
Whitney Houston Zora Neale Hurston Pocohantas Cesar Chavez Selena
Bernie Sanders Taraj P. Henson Angela Davis Marsha P. Johnson Marion Barry
Ghandi Simon Bolivar Dick Gregory Maya Angelou Malala Yousafzai
Gabby Douglas Stevie Nicks Emmett Till Eleanor Roosevelt Frida Khalo
Dorothy Dandridge Michael Jackson Amerigo Vespucci Sr. Ann Kendrick Princess Diana

Later this week, I’ll be sending out a straw poll to the entire Trinity Community to get your input on the critical issues of these historic times.  Meanwhile, if you’d like to comment on the new student poll, please share your thoughts in the “comment” box below.

Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: