Correction: Academic technician Erika Reyes was misidentified in this story.
Students and employees cite health care and immigration as concerns.
As Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president, The Ranger asked people on campus Friday and early this week to share their hopes and fears about the new administration.
Health insurance, immigration and civil rights ranked high on their lists.
No matter how they voted, students, faculty and staff agreed Americans must come together after a divisive election.
Radio-television-broadcasting Instructor Greg Pasztor spent 25 years working in broadcast and often covered presidential elections and inaugurations. He said he encouraged all of his students to vote. Pasztor said Friday this election was the “absolute craziest.”
Tensions ran high during the presidential race, and some minorities felt victimized because of Trump’s comments about Mexicans, Muslims and other groups early in the campaign.
“I’m worried about what this says for young people,” Pasztor said. “This doesn’t feel like the civil, inclusive America that I grew up in.”
Architecture freshman Rory Arriaga has family members who were not born in the United States. He said Friday he is concerned about how a Trump presidency might affect them.
The president has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, particularly immigrants with criminal backgrounds. Today he signed executive orders that call for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and increasing the ranks of border agents and deportation officers, according to CNN.
“I also have friends who are immigrants,” Arriaga said. “They all have bright futures ahead of them and they all deserve that opportunity.”
In Oppenheimer Academic Center, administrative assistant Yolanda Castaneda said in voting for Trump, she hoped he can produce more jobs and secure the country’s borders with background checks and screenings.
Although Castaneda supports Trump, she said she is unsure if he will “hold up his end of the bargain.” She said she also was fearful of the attitude she has witnessed flowing through America. Castaneda said she feels as though the country is divided and the president is not receiving the support he needs to be successful.
“There is power in unity,” she said.
English Professor Jeanne Redmond, who voted for Hillary Clinton, echoed Castaneda’s uncertainty about the next four years.
“We have to wait and see,’’ Redmond said.
She said she remains open-minded, hoping for equality for minorities, women, the disabled and others who felt disrespected during the campaign.
Kinesiology Instructor Dawn Brooks and Linda Casas, facility manager for Candler Physical Education Center, declined to comment on the new administration Friday.
However, they said people must work together.
“I hope all Americans will unite,” Brooks said.
“Oh, yeah, definitely,” Casas said.
They agreed America will prosper as long as Trump does well.
Gabrien Gregory, president of the Bexar County Young Democrats, was sitting in the cafeteria of Loftin Student Center as Trump took the oath of office Friday.
Gregory, who is not a student here, was visiting to support this college’s Young Democrats organization. His girlfriend is a member, he said.
A Clinton voter, he shared his concern about Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s health care program that currently insures 20 million Americans, according to a Dec. 13 fact sheet on the department of health and human services website.
Gregory said he is concerned those people “will lose health insurance and still have to worry about feeding their children and paying their bills.”
Friday night, Trump signed an executive order to lessen the act’s “economic burden” until it is officially repealed.
Gregory said he hoped young people are stirred into action.
“It’s sad, but it also sets an example for what we need to do, and it starts with young people our age,” Gregory said.
Psychology Professor David Katakalos, who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for her stance on education and the environment, said Friday he agrees with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who said Trump’s presidency is not legitimate because of intelligence about Russian hacking in the election.
Katakalos said he is concerned Trump will dissolve the “tradition of separation of church and state.” He also fears the deportation of Mexicans and breaking up Mexican families.
However, he has hopes that Trump will achieve single-payer health insurance, a plan that promises health care for everyone, has no premiums and gives doctors more freedom in patient care, according to an article on the Physicians for a National Health Program’s website.
Valerie Salazar, a longtime cafeteria employee, is worried for her family and her father, a retired veteran who struggles with Medicare funding and employment.
She explained her own fears of losing federal aid, which helps feed her family
“I get food stamps and government help, and if they start enforcing new rules, I may not be able to keep getting them, and that scares me because I have a family,” Salazar said.
Mortuary science Instructor Darrell Woody said he fears Trump’s cabinet will not benefit the everyday working-class individuals who make up the nation.
“There needs to be more transparency,” Woody added.
Woody and others lamented that Clinton actually received more popular votes than Trump, who won the Electoral College. Woody said he hopes for a change in the country’s voting system.
Miguel Valdez, dental hygiene administrative assistant, said he did not feel comfortable sharing how he voted. However, Valdez said he is a registered voter and participates in every election.
Valdez said Americans must respect the office if not the man.
“I hope President Trump can be a great leader for everybody,” Valdez said.
Liberal arts sophomore Sarah Moya works at the front desk of the student learning access center in Moody Learning Center. Moya said she hopes the new administration will treat all Americans fairly.
She is concerned about the safety and well-being of a family member who was born in Mexico, but has worked in the United States for most of their life.
Academic technician Erika Garcia said she worries people who suffer from health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease won’t get the health care they need if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
“I voted for Hillary, lesser of the two evils, because I didn’t want to vote for someone that lacked experience and wasn’t qualified for the job. I just hope he doesn’t screw it up,” she said.
Dr. David Wood, astronomy professor, voiced a similar concern about Trump’s political inexperience.
Wood, who said he voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin, said Trump is “extraordinarily inexperienced in public affairs.”
Wood live-streamed the inauguration on the computer in his office. He said the ceremony “is the most amazing statement of our democracy” and it was his “civic duty” to watch it.
He said he is not optimistic about the next four years.
“Not a whole lot of hope,” Wood said.
Mechanical engineering sophomore Tyler Geriswold voted for Ted Cruz in the primary and Trump in the general election. He said “there’s a lot of fear” about the country’s debt and the growing strength of Russia and China.
Geriswold said the transition from Obama to Trump has generated the sort of attention bestowed on television entertainment.
“The transition, it’s been like a TV show — the media, the ratings.”
Sophomore Kevin Galvez said he wants to see better bipartisan relations.
“I have a lot of family members that weren’t born here,” he said, his expression turning grim.
He expressed concern over their legal status in this country and whether the new administration might demand that they leave the country.
Galvez said he did not vote. “I didn’t, I wasn’t interested. One of the candidates was sold as completely corrupt (Clinton) and the other was just a liar (Trump).”
While he hadn’t actually watched the inauguration, Galvez had been reading articles about unrest in the streets of Washington, D.C., caused by the public’s displeasure about the new president. Galvez said he read protesters had vandalized a limousine.
“People are over-exaggerating,” he said, “breaking people’s belongings. … It’s not right”
The Washington Post reported Friday that protesters in Washington, D.C., “broke glass at bus stops, businesses and on the windows of a limousine.”
Biology freshman Alyssia Maynard said Tuesday she believes Trump is not the true winner since he lost the popular vote.
“I don’t like the guy … but he is our president,” she said. “I hope he listens to the people.”
She fears he may take away rights enacted during Obama’s tenure for women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
“(Trump) has already signed DAPL and stuff in relation to the Affordable Care Act,” Maynard said. DAPL is the Dakota Access Pipeline that has generated protests over environmental pollution. President Trump signed orders to move forward with digging and placing the pipeline, according to a Jan. 24 Time story.
“There’s millions of us and one of him, and we have the power to make change,” Maynard said.
Contributing to this story were Samantha L. Alonso, Ashley Bailey, S.R. Garcia, Elena Longoria, Mario Parker Menchaca III, Drake Murray, Maritza Ramirez, Amanda Sarate, Austin P. Taylor, Grayce Trevino and Solomon A. Wilson.