TAMPA — In the tense, surreal hours after Donald Trump became Donald Trump, President-Elect, some University of South Florida students gathered in a room in the Marshall Student Center.
The university's office of multicultural affairs posted on Facebook on Wednesday that it was offering "a space to breathe, process, grieve, laugh, cry, or sit silently with those that value inclusion."
In Room 3300, there would be snacks, de-stressing activities, "community to connect with, and comfort to share." The Facebook post included a video of Maya Angelou reading her triumphant poem, "And Still I Rise."
About 25 to 40 students made their way to the center throughout the day, said dean of students Danielle McDonald. The mood was casual and informal.
"We're trying to create a place for the community to process any thoughts or feelings they may have had and thoughts about moving forward," McDonald said, stressing USF's focus on student success. "Part of that is, while they're in their college experience, feeling like they're part of a community that cares about them and that they matter in that."
Student reaction to the election varied, she said. Some were elated, others afraid. Still others chose to focus on their academics, simply digging in and doing their work.
To make sure students feel supported, McDonald said, the university has been emphasizing its counseling center and other resources.
Across the country, some institutions of higher education boosted counseling services and encouraged students to join in an open dialogue. Some students held rallies, angry and disbelieving, while campus groups offered safe places to talk, listen and pray. A few professors hosted longer office hours and altered lesson plans, moderating discussions about the election and its aftermath.