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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Students juggle insurrection, impeachment and schoolwork

As armed rioters scaled the Capitol, students tried to pay attention to their lectures

As students tried to get a handle on winter quarter, an insurrection was taking place in the Capitol. As far as their studies were concerned, not much had changed.

Ardash Chandra, a third-year political science major, was in his political science class when news from the Capitol reached him. 

“It was right towards the end of class when the whole thing happened and everyone was typing into the chat and going a little crazy about it,” Chandra said.  

Sonya Gomez-Enriquez, a third-year computer science major, was also in class when she heard about the events.

“I wasn’t really paying attention in class, because I wanted to see what was up,” Gomez-Enriquez said. “I was seeing it progress throughout the day too.”

When asked for comment, Michelle Burt, the director of multicultural services at Student Health and Counseling Services, declined but provided a flyer for students dealing with socio-political stress

“Definitely the day was incredibly stressful for me,” said Marco Moeljadi, a first-year environmental policy major. “I was just so focused on it for a long time.”

Gomez-Enriquez said she wished there would have been more outreach from professors during that time.

“I would want at least an email alert from my teachers saying what they think about it,” Gomez-Enriquez said. “Just to acknowledge there are things going on outside.”

Chancellor Gary May did briefly address the events in an email sent to students on Jan. 8.

“However, as resilient as we can be, we understand the stress brought on by current events,” May said in the email. “Please continue to care for yourselves and others.”

Chandra said this should help people see what is really going on in the U.S.

“We really got to see the other half of the story, the other side of the picture which for the longest time we have said, ‘Oh it doesn’t really exist, it’s just a small population who are like that, who hold those beliefs,’” Chandra said. “That’s just not true, given what we saw.”

Many of the events, such as the plan to arrest congressional members and potentially hang former Vice President Mike Pence, were not known until much later.

“I really feel like it should have been a bigger deal because I saw articles where people were going in there with zip ties and the panic buttons in the congressional room were ripped out ahead of time,” Gomez-Enriquez said.

Moeljadi said he didn’t hear anything from either of his professors that day.

“There could have been at least some recognition,” Moeljadi said. “I don’t know about officially cutting down on assignments, but definitely some recognition.”

The historic second impeachment by the House of Representatives of former President Donald Trump, which occurred just days later on Jan. 12, was not at the top of the list of important topics for Gomez-Enriquez.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really mean anything anymore,” she said. 

Moeljadi said that the events of Jan. 8 were not as stressful as they would be during a regular year, mainly because students are just used to unprecedented events.

“If the Capitol stuff had occurred independent of a pandemic, it would have been much crazier,” Moeljadi said. “It followed a lot of other crazy things going on this year.”

Written by: Kathleen Quinn — campus@theaggie.org


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