On Jan. 18, approximately 200 USC students and faculty members gathered in E.F. Hutton Park to protest Trump's inauguration. With a message to "Teach! Organize! Resist!," the protest was an effort to bring the community together in a time of deep controversy and tense political divides. It is also a way for faculty to tell students who are weary of the upcoming administration that they have support.
"The faculty have not been all that into protesting at a place like USC," said English professor Tania Modleski, who helped organize the event. "But now we are ready to get together and teach, resist, and organize."
The event at USC, scheduled between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the presidential inauguration, was one of dozens of its kind known as #J18 that took place on Jan. 18. The rally against President-elect Donald Trump was an aspect of some students' and faculty members' plan to resist the incoming president's policies, but not everyone shared their views.
November 9, 2016, the day after Election Day, was an unusual day on USC's campus. Portions of the student body were elated, somber, shocked or even frightened.
Many students celebrated the election of a man they saw as the candidate of change, but others mourned President-elect Donald Trump's victory and considered it an immense setback for the country. And this dynamic has created a messy political atmosphere on USC's campus.
A primary concern among Wednesday's protesters was the sense that the incoming administration is keeping them in the dark regarding exactly what Trump will do as president.
"We're more confused since the election than we were during the election," said Niels W. Frenzen, Director of the USC Gould School of Law Immigration Clinic, during his speech. "And this lack of clarity, lack of knowledge in regard to what the new administration is planning on doing contributes to fear and makes our fear and concerns even greater."
Inspired by departments and centers at the University of California, Los Angeles, the rally on Wednesday aimed to educate attendees about the agendas and policies of the new administration, "be it the proposed dismantling of economic and environmental regulations or the threatened rollback of the hard-won rights that form the fragile scaffolding of American democracy."
Among these were "the proposed expansion of state violence targeting people of color, undocumented people, queer communities, women, Muslims, and many others," as well as "ideologies of separation and subordination, including white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, and virulent nationalism," according to the event's website.
"It's a democratic election; we have to respect the results," said English professor John Rowe, a speaker at the event. "But we certainly don't respect the policies that have been announced and the positions taken by the president-elect and most of the people in his staff."
For sophomore Meredith Huang and other protesters at Wednesday's event, protest was a useful means by which to express dissatisfaction with the president-elect's choices.
"There was a lull in December it seemed," said sophomore Meredith Huang. "I didn't see any protests on campus. So this week it's kind of all coming back, the reality of it.
"I think it's working," she said. "You've already seen some of Trump's nominees back down because of public disapproval, and with the confirmation hearings going on too, I think more people are watching than would have if people didn't talk about it. I would never have watched a confirmation hearing."
Trump's victory led to a highly mobilized anti-Trump presence on campus, but USC Republicans celebrated his win more privately with group dinners and smaller events.
"We all celebrated in our own ways," said Tiffany Hoss, president of USC College Republicans.
"I and the organization 100 percent support anyone that has a dissenting opinion because that's your right to free speech, and that's what's great about this country," Hoss said. "[Protest] can be a very effective way to state your opinion."
While Republicans on campus can look forward to Trump's upcoming term, his opponents worry that the sense of uneasiness that many students have about his presidency will subside with time.
"I think people have sort of accepted things at this point, which is a problem, but unless he does something worse than usual, they're not going to keep protesting as much," senior Ruth Howell said.
Students and faculty at Wednesday's rally were unsure how campus culture would shift following the inauguration, but some believed that not much would change.
"I think that on a surface level, there's not going to be much of a difference," senior Kieryn Ziegler said, "which I think is going to lull people into a false sense of security. I think that people are going to have to look for the signs in the subtle ways."
"Just like the day after the election," said Huang "some people will feel good, some people will feel like it's a really dark day."