Protesters listen to speakers while holding signs during the walkout event against President Trump on Jan. 20. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor

Around 200 students and members of the Columbus community joined in a walkout Friday to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump and raise awareness about his agenda for America.

Seth Harrison, a fifth-year in political science involved with NextGen Climate, had goals in mind when planning the rally.

“We wanted to have a space where we could get students more involved in progressive organizations that would be both working to resist Trump for the next four years and create a movement that will hopefully will help us win back part of the Democratic Party,” Harrison said.

Harrison’s goals did not stop at policy, he also aimed to give a voice to minorities.

“We really want to show and represent the people that are going to stand up with them and fight with them, because more than any other time in history these people need to know that they have allies,” Harrison said.

The Trump Inauguration Walkout and Action rally was hosted by Young Progressives Demanding Action and NextGen Climate. The organizations encouraged students to leave their classes during Trump’s inaugural address and rally at the statue of William Oxley Thompson on the Oval followed by a march to the Ohio Union.

Speakers from both organizations spoke to the crowd gathered at the statue while Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. They urged people to take an active role in protesting policies they disagree with and becoming involved in local politics.

At the Ohio Union, protesters listened to speakers and had the opportunity to meet with members of the 10 organizations involved and share ideas.

Kylie White, a second-year in English, voiced opposition for Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos.

“She will not commit to key policies against sexual assault,” White said. “I hope (Ohio State) will hold students accountable and protect us.”

Although the protest was organized for students to stand up against Trump’s administration, supporters showed up to defend the president.

Skylar Alexander, a fourth-year in political science, attended to show his support for Trump.

“I’m not here to counter anyone,” Alexander said. “I’m just here to make people aware that he is our president.”

Jason Ferrell, a 34-year-old resident of Wooster, Ohio, felt it was to stand in solidarity against Trump’s administration. Several other residents of Wooster attended the protest as a member of the Socialist Alternative.  

“I need to resist his administration to the best of my ability from the very start,” Ferrell said.

Alptekin Aydogan, a 54-year-old Wooster, Ohio resident, attended the protest to stand up for human rights

“My biggest fear is losing freedom and basic human rights,” Aydogan said. “They’ve already been cut.”

While the protestors were chanting, onlookers gathered not in support nor defense of them. Sam Brady, a fourth-year in middle childhood education, was there to observe.

“I think the ability to be able to do this is inherent to who we are as a country,” Brady said. “By showing that everyone is not okay with what’s happening, and with who he is nominating for certain positions, I think it’s perfect.”

Kyle Landis, a 2009 OSU alumnus, told protesters that this was only the beginning of the fight.

“This marks the beginning of the resistance,” Landis said. “We have to build a resistance against the attack on our way of life.”

With the rally behind him, Harrison hopes to work with and organize future protests with student groups.
“There was a lot of talk about building people power and coalitions between progressive groups,” Harrison said. “We had so many different kind of groups here that don’t necessarily agree and see eye-to-eye on everything, but we realize we have to work together in the next four years and have unity.”