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Ohio State alumna hosts vigil downtown in reaction to election results

A group gathers outside the Ohio Statehouse on Nov. 9 for a vigil in response to the presidential election. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Assistant Sports Director

A group gathers outside the Ohio Statehouse on Nov. 9 for a vigil in response to the presidential election. Credit: Ashley Nelson |  Sports Director

In response to the election of Republican Donald Trump for president in the early morning hours on Wednesday, people gathered near the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus that evening.

Liz Whelan, a 2010 Ohio State master of city and regional planning graduate, created a Facebook event titled“Light and Love Vigil” around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, and about 100 people were in attendance for the 6:30 p.m. event. Whelan said she felt the need to take some sort of action in response to the election results, and made the event after some of her friends responded positively to the suggestion of a vigil.

“A lot of people in this country don’t necessarily perceive what Donald Trump says and does as offensive to minority groups in the country. That causes me a lot of concern,” she said. “I feel like I want to gather people who are expressing that sentiment that we are still standing together. We are still doing our best as a community to continue to not only promote civil liberties but see the inherent value of all people.”

The event was originally scheduled to take place on the Statehouse lawn, but was moved to the sidewalk outside the building as use of the lawn requires a permit secured in advance. While the term “vigil” is sometimes for remembrance of the dead, Whelan said the term speaks to the feeling of heartbreak she is experiencing.

“The word definitely resonates a connotation of grief, of loss, and I think there’s sadness,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a loss of Hillary Clinton, to me, although I think she would have made a fine president who would have represented things that I believe in, but the grief is more in that I really wanted to believe that there were enough Americans who would come out and vote and say ‘No, it’s not OK to speak this way about people, publicly or otherwise.’”

Whelan did not plan any speakers or activities ahead of time, but as the event got underway, she kicked off the vigil by inviting attendees to march around the block. After the lap, attendees made a circle and took turns speaking addressing the group.

Two of those who stepped forward were Ohio State students Hanna Detwiler and Levi Griffith. Both are members of OSU’s chapter of College Democrats and worked to support Clinton’s campaign.

“I didn’t want to leave my room, I was really sad, but this was the right thing to do,” said Detwiler, a third-year in English and psychology.

Griffith, a third-year in public affairs, said the vigil was a way for him to find hope.

“We have all these people that want to stop this hate and vitriol that’s going around, to sort of accept people for who they are,” he said. “And that’s what motivated me to come down, is to show that there still are people who believe in that, who still want that vision for America.”

Although the election is over, Detwiler said the chance to make political change is not.

“I think it’s time to fight harder than we’ve ever fought before,” she said. “I just want to make sure that people understand that, that it’s really okay to cry but we need this as a call to action, to try and change the world one more time.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Nov. 10 at 12:20 p.m. to correct the spelling of Detwiler’s name. Griffith’s major was also corrected.


  1. The election of Donald Trump is a referendum against the decisive politics of the past eight years. Although I did not support Donald Trump as my candidate, it became increasingly clear that the media fabricated the racial and sexist narrative against him. As it turns out, he has a lifelong history of hiring women and minorities, and in fact, has more women in management than men and they are paid on average, more based on performance. We need a change. We can no longer let those that hate and are intolerant to control our lives. With Trump, we have an opening for fairness and equal opportunity for all.

  2. An election happened and elections have consequences. What most of you are “feeling” is a “fear” or “concern” that lawlessness which you support may be reined in and reversed. Obama & the Clinton’s are among the most corrupt and lawless people ever to hold public offices. Donald Trump is flawed, just as are all humans. Trust me, if those on the “right” could stomach 8 years of Obama, without taking to the streets like mindless spoiled brats, folks like you may survive a Trump administration that has yet to even be formed let alone take office. Go and actually READ our declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordinance, Articles of Confederation, and our constitution. These 4 documents form the “Organic Law” of the united States. Then READ the Bible where most of the content in those 4 documents derive from.

    Sadly the Ohio State University long ago abandoned teaching what used to be known as a “classical liberal” education. Most have no comprehension of fundamental principles, be they God’s or mans, and instead float along driven only by “feelings, passion, concerns and FEAR.”

    If you truly want to hold a “Vigil,” do so for the loss of Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Morality in the lives and spirits of our people. Reject the garbage “taught [indoctrinated]” to you by modern professors and return to the “Wisdom of the Ages” found in God’s Word and in the founding documents of the united States.

  3. If they voted the had their say. If they did not vote they have chosen to remain voiceless. Your right to protest is also your right to vote.

  4. I am an OSU Alum and I felt joy and relief at Mr. Trump’s election. I’m tired of the falsehoods of the past 8 years, and the “progressive” agenda that should rightly be called repressive. I believe Mr. Trump will be fair and engaging to all Americans. Better times are coming!

    • I so agree. How these people can call all that’s happened over the last eight years progress is incomprehensible to me and apparently to the majority of Americans. Thank you for voting to make America great again.

  5. Get back to class Liz. Crying because you didn’t get your way is toddler like

  6. A vigil because your candidate lost? Grow up, things get tough in the real world. I tweeted this article out and the general consensus was that too many young people don’t realize that you don’t always get what you want! Move on, Trump will not hold you back, the only one holding anyone back is the person in the mirror.

    Get a grip, go to class and work to be great Leave the vigils to the losers.

  7. In a campus made up of 105,000 individuals, this small bunch does not seem like much news to me, and is a sop to the bias of the news media – including campus newspapers.

    Trump supporters would not have done this, but if they had – I doubt if it would have received one column inch in the Lantern.

  8. To use an old adage, on a farm there is a difference of concern between a chicken and a pig when someone decides to have ham and eggs for breakfast, because for one animal it involves being involved and for the other it means a total commitment (regardless of whether they want it or not.)

    For individuals who have heard and seen messages suggesting that their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity or race or that of a fellow citizen, might be used to prohibit them from entering or re-entering the country, ban them or family members from living in the U.S. (the only country they’ve ever known), prohibit their right to marry, and endanger the health and lives of their children because of ignored environmental concerns, there is an urgency that might be not understood by some, but essential to brought to the forum of ideas that makes a true democracy work.

  9. John Steele '78 Journalism

    It is disturbing the “precious flowers” MY Ohio State now produces. How will real life treat them? And, you, LANTERN, where’s coverage of celebratory gatherings? Still part of biased Forth Estate?

  10. Wonder what happens to the Clinton Foundation, now that their clients no longer have gov. access.

  11. Recent Buckeye Alum

    Stuff like this is a reason why Ohio State (and Columbus proper) actually made me more conservative and a “lapsed Democrat.” The world is not going to end, guys! The people who supported Trump is far more diverse than you can imagine, from legal immigrants to gay people, much of them college-educated!

    Congratulations to Mr. Trump, and I look forward to his support of religious liberty and the moderation of federal spending! 🙂

    P.S. If it matters … I am a Millennial Asian-American female in my late 20s.

  12. As a 1980 OSU grad, I used to be so proud of my university. But starting with the lynching of its amazing and wonderful Band Director and now to hear the anti-American whining from the far left *FILLED WITH HATE* OSU students that this university seems to be cultivating, my heart is broken over the collapse of the fine university that I attended, now what feels to have been so long ago. OSU, oh how you have changed…

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