Many Americans were shocked at the results of the 2016 presidential election, but now, after reports of an uptick of racist harassment across the country, female international students at Ohio University are wondering how the new President-elect Donald Trump and his supporters will affect their lives in Athens.
“I find that people have a very negative appreciation of what immigration stands for," Rosa Armstrong, a graduate student studying French from Cape Coast, Ghana, said. "But immigration is not altogether negative. Even where I come from, there are people who are nationals who don’t really do anything to contribute to the economy of the country. Just as the same way there are Americans who don’t do much to contribute to the economy.”
The number of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges has reached an all-time high this year. International students contribute more than $30 billion annually to the U.S. economy and create or support more than 400,000 jobs, according to Institute of International Education and the Association of International Educators. Meanwhile, international students in Ohio contribute $1.1 billion. According to a report from the Institute of International Education, “more than 37,000 international students are enrolled in Ohio colleges, ranking the state eighth nationally.”
While Athens is considerably safer than most campuses, some of the students have requested anonymity as a safety precaution and in accordance with their local governments who have demanded that they remain silent following the election.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported there were about 900 reports of harassment and intimidation during the 10 days after the election and examined how President-elect Trump’s election victory has influenced the behavior of people across the country.
“I don’t think we can end (racism), actually," Matchima Buddhanoy, a sophomore studying engineering from Chiangmai, Thailand, said. "It’s been here for a long, long time. I just want them to change their attitude.”