‘A stressful and emotional time’ for Vanderbilt during 2020 election

Vanderbilt students react to results of the 2020 presidential election after four days of waiting.


Emily Gonçalves

The Office of Active Citizenship and Service is located in Suite 109 of the Student Life Center. (Hustler Multimedia/Emily Gonçalves)

Sally Johnson and Henry Ridley

After months of speeches, debates and campaigning, the 2020 presidential election has come to an end with Joe Biden named as the president-elect alongside Kamala Harris as vice president-elect. 

For the four days following election day on Nov. 3, the Vanderbilt community waited for the final results of the presidential election. On Nov. 7, Joe Biden was declared the president-elect with an electoral count of 290 votes against Donald Trump’s count of 214 as of the time of writing this article.

 In the weeks leading up to election day, the Vanderbilt administration undertook efforts to assist students in handling the stress of election season as the University Counseling Center organized election-specific opportunities for meditation as well as reflective conversation in order to alleviate anxiety. 

The Office of Active Citizenship and Service also organized free VandyRide shuttles to the polls for Davidson County residents and offered two opportunities to have absentee ballots notarized on campus. In an email sent to The Hustler on Nov. 2, Meagan Smith, Assistant Director of OACS, reported that about 70 students had utilized both of these services.

Across campus, some students expressed their joy with the election’s results. Sophomore Aadil Khan said he felt relieved to hear that Biden had won the presidential election. 

“Seeing your candidate of choice winning brings a lot of hope into your soul knowing that you have someone who is willing to stand up for you and represent your values in policy and government,” Khan said. 

Khan added that he feels that this election has meaning beyond deciding between Trump and Biden. He said that it also has implications for democracy.

“We have overcome a grave challenge to the threat of democracy,” Khan said. “Americans have collectively chosen to uphold the sanctity and promise of the U.S. Constitution.”

However, not all students said they were pleased with the outcome. 

“I feel like the Democratic party could have done better, but honestly both candidates and their vice presidents had their downsides,” sophomore Charles Sissias said. 

Junior Will Fritzler, president of Vanderbilt College Republicans (VCR), said that though he wasn’t completely satisfied with the election results, he does see the possibility for positive effects of Biden’s win. 

Fritzler is The Hustler’s sports copy editor.

“Even though he doesn’t represent many of my policy values, the country will benefit from Biden’s sense of decency and compromise,” Fritzler said. “I do expect a greater sense of respect and admiration for the presidency among Americans and the rest of the world.”

Even those who had hoped for a Biden win said that they were left feeling not entirely optimistic due to the close nature of the race.

 Biden’s win is a victory against authoritarianism and a victory for all marginalized communities across America, yet the narrow margin of victory also reflects the shortcomings of the Democrats in being able to connect to working class voters,” sophomore Udit Malik said. “The Democrats must adopt progressivism if they want to be successful.”

 Many students have expressed exasperation this semester due to the pandemic and some say that the election has only increased these feelings of anxiety. 

“It’s definitely a very stressful and emotional time for all of us, especially so for POC and other marginalized communities,” Malik said.