Vanderbilt students plan for inauguration weekend

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Maddie Brown

The inauguration of president elect Donald Trump will take place this Friday, Jan. 20, with the swearing-in ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in DC. Vanderbilt students will be participating in inauguration events, both solemn and celebratory, throughout the weekend.

Sophomore Annie Randle will be heading to DC for inauguration weekend to attend a Paul Ryan fundraiser, an official inaugural ball and, of course, the inauguration itself.

While there are non-ticketed viewing areas where anyone can watch the inauguration ceremony and parade, some areas require tickets, which are distributed by U.S. Senate and House offices free of charge. Each office has different requirements for who can obtain tickets and what the process is to get them. Randle’s father, having connections to the Republican party in DC, was able to get tickets for her and her family.

Randle’s main reason for attending the inauguration in DC is her and her family’s ties to the Republican party, not to Trump himself.

I think it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I am a Republican, so I do not support Hillary, but I do not necessarily support Trump,” Randle said. “If [the President-elect] was a Democrat, I do not think we would have been able to get tickets and we probably would not go anyway.”

Multiple inaugural balls will be held throughout DC Friday night, both official and unofficial. The President-elect is set to attend many of the official balls on Friday. Tickets are required to attend these events.

“I am excited for it all,” Randle said. “I am most excited for the Friday night inaugural ball because I have never been to something like that. I think it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Dean Bandas said that faculty will determine the attendance requirements for classes on Friday on a case-by-case basis for students who choose to travel to DC to watch the inauguration in person.

Although more solemn, senior Maggie King is also looking forward to the events she is participating in in Nashville this weekend.

King will be participating in an event called “Grab ‘Em By the Wallet” in which participants will not be spending any money at all on inauguration day to take a stand for women’s economic equality, according to King, who plans on participating.

“Do your grocery shopping and fill up your gas tank the day before,” King said. “This is to make a statement about women’s economic standings and to remind people that we need to be taken into consideration about these financial decisions.”

King will also be attending the Nashville Women’s March the day after the inauguration, which will take place at 10 a.m. and begin in Cumberland Park. Over 5.6 thousand people have responded that they will be attending the event, which is being organized by Power Together Tennessee, on Facebook, and another 6.5 thousand responded that they are interested in the event. This event is one of hundreds of “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington, which will occur at the same date and time in Washington, DC.

“As a Women’s and Gender Studies major, I have gotten so many emails about it from professors in the department and other students,” King said. “Students on Vanderbilt’s campus are so excited about it. That is powerful.”

senior Maggie King

The event will begin with a rally by the pedestrian bridge, complete with nine speakers from organizations such as National Women’s Liberation Women of Color Caucus, Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, Nashville Feminist Collective and Worker’s Dignity. The rally will be followed by a march to Public Square Park, where participants will enjoy a performance by Nashville in Harmony. Then they will continue on another .2 miles to Legislative Plaza to engage in teach-ins about topics such as feminist organizing, reproductive healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, local environmental issues, workers’ rights, immigration issues and abortion stigma sponsored by Tennessee Advocates to Planned Parenthood. Other Nashville organizations will also be tabling at the event.

The march is specifically geared towards sending the message that women’s rights are human rights, according to the Women’s March on Washington mission statement. But King suggests that this type of label limits the inclusivity of an event like this.

It is going to be a powerful day, but then we need to get right to work.

“The fact that it is a women’s march is reflective of a lot of the problems of mainstream feminism,” King said. “We are not acknowledging the additional disparity that women who are survivors of sexual assault or women from minority backgrounds are going to experience and have been experiencing throughout the election.”

Ultimately, King believes that the march is being identified as a women’s march in order to increase visibility. The Power Together Tennessee website says that the Nashville march is an “inclusive march” and that “all supporters of women’s rights are welcome.”

“I am excited because the march will be like having that community physically around me of people who feel the same way,” King said. “It is going to be a powerful day, but then we need to get right to work.”

Although she was discouraged by the outcome of the recent election, King will be watching the swearing-in ceremony on TV.

“It kills me as a human being,” King said. “But as somebody who has studied the election from an academic standpoint and just as a person existing in this political moment, I feel like I need to. I will watch it.”