As Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the next President of the United States on Jan. 20, a coalition of Cal Poly students will be marching through the streets of San Luis Obispo in protest of his impending administration. The following morning, thousands of locals are expected to participate in a Women’s March at Mitchell Park.
Cal Poly students are planning a “walkout” at 12 p.m. during the inauguration, convening on Dexter Lawn to stage a march to the SLO County Superior Courthouse downtown.
“This event is open to all students, staff, faculty, and community members who are united in anger against bigotry, hate, and Trump,” a student press release states. “This is not just an event for the Cal Poly community, but one for all San Luis Obispo and Central Coast communities.”
Several Cal Poly student groups joined forces to organize the event, which is set to take place in similar forms on several campuses across the country on Jan. 20. The organizing clubs are Cal Poly Students Against Trump, Queer Student Union, MEXA De Cal Poly, Cal Poly Democrats, SLO Solidarity, Cal Poly Students for Quality Education, Triota, and Black Student Union.
“It came to fruition from all these clubs having the same feelings about [the inauguration],” fourth-year student and president of the Cal Poly Democrats club Liana Riley told New Times. “There are so many different groups on campus who I think are responding to [Trump] negatively and are really fearful. It’s a really formidable time for people.”
A Facebook event page for the walkout shows 76 committed attendees, 250 interested, and 814 invited as of press time. The total number of Facebook “likes” and members for the different clubs surpasses 3,200.
Riley said students are protesting Trump for a number of reasons, ranging from his stance on issues like immigration and climate change, to his cabinet choices, to his treatment of women.
“As a young woman, it’s especially frightening to think about the infringement on our rights,” she said.
Cal Poly spokeswoman Cynthia Lambert told New Times that the university would not make changes to its class schedule on Jan. 20 to accommodate the march. She said the university police plan to have extra officers on duty and have “a security plan in place” for the walkout to “help ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.”
The day after the inauguration—Jan. 21—as many as 5,000 community members are expected to participate in a local Women’s March at Mitchell Park in SLO. At 10:45 a.m., participants will march through downtown SLO on Higuera and Marsh Streets and then hear speeches and musical performances at the park until 2 p.m.
“We stand together in solidarity with our friends, families, and women everywhere, for the protection of women’s rights, safety, and health; and to look forward to a positive future,” the event’s website states.
While some locals are refusing to take part in the Trump inauguration, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), the congressional representative for the Central Coast, announced that he will be attending it in Washington, D.C.
“I want him to see the face of a Mexican immigrant newly elected to serve as the first Latino representative for the Central Coast and to know that the many groups he has disparaged and attacked over the course of his campaign have a strong voice in our government,” Carbajal said in a statement.