By: Kristen Grattan

SPOKANE, Wash. – “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God,” Hebrews 13:16. At Rockwood Retirement Communities, they aspire to maintain a culture of Christian values and to treat each person with respect and integrity.

Rockwood Retirement Communities is a place for the elderly and offer independent living as well as assisted living. Their mission statement is to “promote independence, wellness and lifelong vitality by providing housing and services to seniors, with a commitment to excellence.

Whitworth University students love to go the Rockwood Retirement Communities to volunteer.

“It gives students a unique experience!” said Kimberly Dennis, the activities director’s assistant at Rockwood.

“These students are talking with these residents who lived in an entirely different time, it’s like a piece of history,” said Dennis.

Dennis says students have been known to do service learning volunteering for a class requirement at Rockwood, and then come back on their own time because of how much they enjoyed it.

“I have such a soft spot in my heart for the elderly,” said Katrina Bosma. Bosma is a sophomore at Whitworth University who was one of the students who went back to Rockwood after she finished her service learning.

“I am super close with my grandparents, so I want to be able to mingle with the residents in case their grandchildren can’t or they don’t have any,” said Bosma.

Bosma says she only lives ten minutes away from Rockwood so she can go back and volunteer when she isn’t so busy with school and during the holidays.

Joyce Jensen, a sophomore at Whitworth University had a similar experience volunteering at Rockwood.

“I got the loving feeling that grandparents would give,” said Jensen, “I don’t have any grandparents who are living so it’s like having a bunch of grandparents to go visit.”

Jensen says it’s a true blessing being with these residents and being able to hear their life stories.

“It’s nice for the residents in their eighties and nineties to be around younger people,” said Holly Fry. Fry is the activities coordinator director at Rockwood Retirement Communities.

Fry says that socially for the residents, it’s really good for them to be around younger people. This way, they can share their life stories and experiences.

Morgan Portlock, a sophomore at Whitworth University says she bonded with a Whitworth Alumni while she was volunteering.

“I met with Ross Cutter, he was a tennis coach at Whitworth and they named the tennis courts after him!” said Portlock.

Portlock plays for the Whitworth Softball team and says she bonded with Ross over the sports at Whitworth. Portlock says she felt truly blessed to talk with Ross about her softball experience and his tennis coaching experience.

“I’ve always thought it was God’s calling for me to interact with the elderly,” said Portlock.

“It’s like having grandparents away from home,” said Portlock, “They’re all so kind and gentle.”

These Whitworth students have taken their faith and values into action and pursued what they felt God was calling them to do.

God’s timing is always perfect, and it is no secret that He put matched these Whitworth students with these residents from Rockwood Retirement Communities.

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dscn1317by Emily Goodell

The women of Spokane’s Muslim community were disappointed and hurt by the results of the 2016 presidential election, but have not faced increased discrimination in the Spokane community.

Iffat Tasnim, Amenah Stewart, Najah H., Aishah L. and Vania H. regularly attend prayers at the Spokane Islamic Center. When asked how they felt about Donald Trump being elected, they were wary but not afraid.

“We are hopeful,” Aishah said.

“We are hopeful we don’t end up in concentration camps,” Vania said.

MUSLIM: “Muslims are people who have professed belief in Islam.” (Why Islam)

A few days after the election, as they were coming to pray, they saw a group of a dozen people outside the center, Aishah said.

“I pulled up in my car and when I saw them, I cringed,” Aishah said.

That is, until she realized the people were not protesters, but supporters with signs proclaiming their support and smiled.

After the election, Stewart was heartbroken at first: afraid of hate and misunderstanding.

“In a miracle way, [Trump] had gotten elected through hate,” Stewart said.

After a week of struggling to accept his nomination, Stewart was no longer scared.

“It’s just in the media,” Stewart said.

Tasnim came to America from Bangladesh and has lived in the U.S. most of her life. She said she wants what is best for America, but that she had never seen such hatred in people before the election of Donald Trump. However, she has hope.

“This is my country…If [Trump] can do what’s best for each and every American, that’s good,” Tasnim said, “We have the right to ask the president to do good for each and every American, because America is the best country in the world.”

Pew Research Center found that on average, when rating religions on a “feeling thermometer” from zero to 100, with zero being most negative and 100 being most positive, Americans gave Islam a rating of 41.

ISLAM: the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Tasnim said that although Muslims do bad things, that does not make all Muslims bad people or Islam bad. Islam is the right way, but Muslims may not be following the right way, Tasnim said.

“Muslim people do bad things,” Tasnim said, “When people do bad things, they are bad, but to say all Muslims are bad hurts me. I am not hurting anyone.’

Tasnim explained that in Islam, if you kill one person, you kill humanity, but if you save one person, you save humanity. She said that Muslim people who do wrong are not following Islam the right way. Tasnim said she wishes those people would go through the Qur’an more and practice Islam, not just read it.

“Islam is perfect, but Muslims are not,” Aisha said.

QUR’AN: “The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc., but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.  At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system.” (Islam Guide)

When asked what they thought was the reason behind the misinformation regarding Islam and Muslim people, they all said the media was part of the problem.

“Media uses purposeful misinformation to generate hate,” Najah said.

Stewart, who converted to Islam five years ago, did not meet a Muslim person until she studied abroad in England while working on her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She had heard Muslims described as crazy growing up, at home and when consuming media, but her perception changed once she met a Muslim.

“Everything that the media was telling me was wrong,” Stewart said.

Although Stewart, Tasnim, Aisha, Najah and Vania have heard stories of Muslim women wearing hijab being harassed, none of them have faced harassment since the election. And the harassment they have faced in the past has been mostly verbal and mostly when driving.

“People have more courage when driving,” Vania said, “And if you’re a woman who chooses to wear hijab, you’re a sore thumb.”

Vania described an instance in which she was driving and had her head resting out the window, wearing hijab. When she was stopped at the intersection of division and foothills, she heard someone yell a religious slur at her.

HIJAB: “…an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition. In Islam, however, it has a broader meaning. It is the principle of modesty and includes behavior as well as dress for both males and females.The most visible form of hijab is the head covering that many Muslim women wear.” (BBC Religions)

Najah has also been verbally attacked. The only time she can remember being really afraid was in the parking lot of Fred Meyer’s during the first years of the Iraq War. A man drove by in his car and screamed, “You’re the reason my friend is dead!”

One of Aishah’s friends was driving when a man pretended to shoot her at a stoplight. Aishah herself recently had a woman come up to her at the new Natural Foods store in Spokane while she was shopping.

The woman said, “That thing on your head? It’s not beautiful. It reminds me of slavery.” Aishah didn’t realize how much those words had affected her until she left the store.

“It’s not slavery; it’s freedom. The freedom to choose who gets to see our bodies,” Aishah said.

The misconception of hijab being a form of oppression for women is one Stewart is familiar with.

“Women were put in the world to be objects of beauty, regardless of what you believe,” Stewart said, “Why does it matter what my hair looks like? Why should I look like a sex object for everyone when I can control it?”

Stewart is not oppressed by her husband, but wears hijab because she is a slave to God, which is what the word Muslim means, Stewart said. She chooses to be a slave to God and to wear hijab because it is what is right, Stewart said.

“If you’re not a slave of God, you’re a slave to something else: money, material things, society,” Stewart said.

Stewart stressed that it is a choice to wear hijab, that it is not something forced upon her, but something she wants to do.

“I don’t have to wear a scarf,” Stewart said, “It’s better to do it, but I’m not going to hell for not wearing it.”

For all those that don’t know about Islam or have never met a Muslim, there are ways to learn more.

“I would say don’t assume, ask,” Vania said,”If you have a misconception, ask a Muslim.”

“Do not believe what I am saying; believe what the Qur’an is saying,” Tasnim said.

“Come to the mosque; there’s no reason to be spewing hate,” Stewart said, “Ask questions and figure it out. Even if you hate Muslims, come to the mosque.”

Eco Reps added to dorms

December 15, 2016

Since ASWU and Sodexo agreed to split senior Whit Jester’s sustainability coordinator position last year into separate positions for each organization, Jester said she has received more freedom to serve students in dorms and promote campus wide sustainability efforts.

Jester said she has seen an increase in demand for resources and services which led her to recruit 15 Eco Reps in residence halls. The Eco Reps will lead green living efforts within their communities and help Jester better coordinate her time and energy into creating programs students want.

“The role of the Eco-Reps is to sort of be my eyes, and ears and hands in the dorms,” Jester said. “Because I don’t live in any dorm and I can’t be in all the dorms all the time, and it’s hard to understand the community of each dorm unless you’re within them. The Eco Reps were put forward to fill that role.”

Eco Reps check-in with Jester once a week to update her on how the dorm is progressing with implemented programs such as recycling challenges or composting and suggest ideas for improvements.

“It’s something you do because you love it and you care about it. Because it’s not a paid position, it’s just volunteers that come,” Jester said. “You are now a designated person in the dorm that can come to me, and I will come to, so we can create sustainable change together.”

Morgan McKeague, an Eco Rep in Stewart, said after seeing the drought in California she felt called to be a “good steward of the earth.”

“Being an Eco Rep isn’t going to change what’s going on in California, but I think that the idea of being good stewards of this earth is really important to carry with you everywhere,” McKeague said. “I think that those habits can be formed in college and hopefully some people are more motivated to practice more sustainable living after they leave Whitworth and while they’re at Whitworth.”

Jester said she feels the representatives will be effective because students in the dorms may listen more to a peer than an off-campus student when adding new policies to dorm life.  A benefit of having an official representative position designated is that student ideas have an official channel to be communicated to and heard by ASWU, Jester said.

“Even though the positions are through me, I want them to feel free to independently come up with ideas and bring them forth,” Jester said. “And then feel like they have this group of people and community that will support them.”

McKeague said overall she would like Stewart residents to increase their attention on recycling and composting, but believes conversation and dialogue with residents is important to inform them how each resident can affect the environment.  

“Everybody can be an Eco Rep. in whatever lifestyle they have and it’s not really a position that I think is really necessarily supposed to be one person,” McKeague said. “It’s applicable to many types of lifestyles and we’re all affected by the environment.”

Interest in campus environmental care has grown over the past few years, ASWU sustainability coordinator Whit Jester said, but student leaders in sustainability focused groups feel that numerous large steps remain toward making Whitworth a truly sustainable campus.

“When I first started getting involved in sustainability last year I felt there was kind of [an] apathetic view toward it,” Jester said. “But in my time, actually working in sustainability here and engaging people about it I’ve not felt that way. I feel like people do greatly care.”

Freshman Bryn Redal was recently selected to be an Eco Rep in Baldwin-Jenkins, a new position created by Jester in order to help fulfill the specific sustainability needs of each dorm and have a team member more connected to students. Redal said she has seen a mix of apathy and interest toward environmental efforts from her fellow residents.

“I think it’s more the attitude is, ‘It exists, but it doesn’t really affect me,’” Redal said. “Or since everyone else is conscious and trying to be a responsible citizen and doing all these things I don’t need to. That’s the attitude I seem to get a lot. But in general I think people do know and acknowledge it.”

Senior Anne Noll, Kipos club president, said the environmental justice club presents an opportunity for all students to pursue their interests in eco-friendly living through education and engagement on campus. The 30 member group meets throughout the semester to organize green efforts on campus along with maintaining an off-campus garden that students can volunteer in or rent their own plots.

“Our goal is just to bring up what students are interested in learning more about: environmental issues in the world and in our nation,” Noll said. “Because we’re not all experts and that’s not the goal of the club. The goal is this is something we’re passionate about and that is really important and essential to life.”

 

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“It provided a space for so many people to feel at home and find a place to live out their passions and learn more and learn from each other. For me, everything that I’m doing and that I like doing, came from involvement in this club. It’s the first place I felt at home coming up from Texas.”

– Anne Noll, Kipos club president

 

Jester said she wants to make sustainable living a natural and regular way of life for students rather than a once a semester activity.

“Another goal of mine is to create more of an interest and norm around sustainability around campus,” Jester said. “To just make it so that it’s something that comes to mind. That people think before they throw things out.”

Noll said one of the easiest ways for students to create change on campus is to inform administrators, Sodexo and other departments that there is interest in policy change or additional resources that will result in the creation or continuation of sustainable practices.

“In the past we’ve done surveys, and they’ve done surveys, and students said ‘Yes, this is something we’ve wanted,’ and it came into the cafeteria,” Noll said. “So just having a student voice. What administration needs to hear, and professors and Sodexo is that this is something important to students and then money and time will be put into that.”

Administration may not always be open to changing a policy unless they can see a positive monetary result, Noll said.

Director of Facilities Services Chris Eichorst said facilities is focused on green policies that will save the university money even if those efforts may not be as public as other efforts by student groups.

Within the past month facilities finished replacing the light bulbs throughout the library with LED lights that will save the university $6,500 a year in electricity costs. Further light replacements are scheduled to make university buildings and walkway lights more efficient. Facilities is also focused on updating the HVAC and water pump system on campus with upgrades eventually reducing energy consumption and costs, Eichorst reported.

All three student leaders said encouraging more widespread composting is one of their biggest goals this year which requires collaboration campus-wide and assistance from facilities, Noll called composting a “community act.”

Kipos often partners with Sodexo to create green programs around campus including a hydroponic food growing system which was put into place in 2014. Sodexo’s own sustainability efforts have increased over the past few years with the implementation of a compost system in the dining hall that sends collected food offsite, sourcing local produce and trying to reduce food waste around campus.

The increase in programs led Sodexo to request their own student sustainability coordinator that would work with ASWU, but focus on Sodexo’s needs.

“The bigger goal is just education for students about where their food comes from; and how much energy goes into the food that they eat; and how much they actually need to be eating; and where we can get it from,” said Lisa Bobb, Sodexo sustainability coordinator.

All three leaders said they want to see a campus-wide composting system that does not require an offsite facility and could result in composted materials being repurposed on-campus or sold to outside users.

 

jv_0443

Photo via The Whitworthian

“That kind of goes back to the whole creation care thing. This is a Christian university and we spend a lot of time doing service projects for people, but I think it’s also really important to think about the whole large community that is the earth that we live in. If we really love living here and love how beautiful it is then it’s something we need to be caring about.” 

– Lisa Bobb, Sodexo sustainability coordinator

 

 

 

 

Duvall, Oliver and Boppell Hall are running the compost system that Jester said she hopes will be implemented in all residence halls by the end of the year. The system begins with students placing compost approved items in bins that are then emptied into a larger compost pile.

“It’s more of a living organism than just a piling sitting there,” Bobb said. “Someone has to be making sure that everything in there is healthy and going well. A lot of people think you just dump it in a pile, but it takes a lot more effort to actually keep it healthy.”

Even small compost systems can become invested with animals or bugs if not properly cleaned or maintained during school breaks, Eichorst said.

“While it is a good, well meaning program, it is not really sustainable if it can’t go continuously,” Eichorst said. “When students have breaks there needs to be some sort of hand-off [to groups who can maintain the program or clean the bins.]”

Eichorst added he does not see the cost of a campus-wide composting system having a “real serious payback” due to the staff and machinery requirements.

Despite those concerns Jester, Bobb and Noll are continuing the project with small versions in residence halls and hope the tangible presence of composting will spark significant eventual change at Whitworth.

“We have a lot more we can do, and we’re not perfect. But I think it’s here to stay, hopefully forever,” Noll said.

Fixed budget not enough for Northwest Division III schools

The Washington State University head football coach earns a $2.95 million annual salary, according to the Seattle Times. That is equal to almost the entire athletics budget of Whitworth University, which is approximately $3 million, according to College Factual.

For most Division III universities in the Northwest, an athletics budget similar to Whitworth University in amount is fairly typical, demonstrated by a College Factual comparison of schools in the Northwest Conference. Many of the budgets are fixed, meaning that universities allocate the same amount of money every year, the athletics director of Whitworth University Tim Demant said.

Northwest Conference schools rarely receive the amount of national attention as Division I counterparts or gain a significant amount of revenue, according to the US Department of Education website. The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis is an annual report that compares the expenses and revenue of each school in the Northwest Conference.

The report concluded that most schools do not earn much revenue, if any, on the athletic programs. Often, programs break even.

A comparison of the overall athletic budgets between a Division I school, such as WSU and a Division III school like Whitworth would be both impractical and difficult. In part because the former earns more than $54 million, according to the Spokesman-Review.

However, it is not uncommon for Division III universities to spend more than the institution is allocated on athletics to meet the players’ needs, said the director of athletics of Whitworth.

“Last year as a department we raised almost $400,000 dollars to cover our expenses,” Demant said. “If you think of $400,000 dollars on a $3 million budget, that’s a big chunk of money.”

Many other schools in the Northwest Conference have turned to fundraising as an option to cover the costs that are often not accounted for in the current budget fixture. George Fox University is one of those schools.

However, some schools may not have the opportunity to host fundraisers because of factors like location and resources, which may determine why some programs are successful and others are not.

“One of our successes is that we have been able to fundraise and we have been able to do those trips to be able to play against top teams in the country,” Demant said. “Prospective students that want to be a part of a championship team, go ‘[Whitworth] is doing what it takes to be there.’”

Whitworth has consistently been one of the most successful athletic programs in the Northwest Conference, but the department has not been rewarded with an increased budget. Nearly a quarter of all the undergraduate students at Whitworth are also athletes, but the athletics staff’s requests to up the budget have been ignored by the administration.

“We’ve requested [an increased budget] but the answer is no,” Demant said. “I’m sure that every other department has a wishlist of things they want more money for, but particularly with my role in the cabinet I see the whole picture and it becomes pointless to keep asking for things that you know you’re not going to get.”

The NCAA currently allots $29.7 million to Division III schools, according to the website of the association  That may seem like a sufficient amount of money, but it accounts for only 3.2 percent of the entire budget of the association. There are 450 collegiate institutions in Division III sports.

Each university has a different allocation method based on location of the school, size of staff and size of participants. However, the current overall budget is insufficient at covering the needs of the programs, particularly for Whitworth University, according to Demant.

One area that lacks financial resources is the Pirates soccer program. The total combined budget of men and women’s soccer is around $84,000 split between the two teams, confirmed by both soccer coaches. As a comparison, the travel budget for the football team is $90,000.

The soccer coaches see the deficiency in budget the most in the money allotted for recruiting. For example, the programs share a combined $725 to try and convince prospective athletes to participate in each program.

“Our recruiting budget is very small,” head men’s soccer coach Morgan Cathey said. “It’s the lowest in the conference, from what I know. Because our recruiting budget is what it is, you have to take from other areas; our travel budget makes up such a big part of our budget, we’ll try to skimp in out travel to make up room in our equipment or recruiting.”

Recruiting is not the only area in which programs are struggling to find resources. For example, the women’s soccer team entire budget is roughly $43,000 for the entire year, according to head coach Bryan Olson.

With 30 players on the women’s team, not every player has the opportunity to travel to each game, which has an effect on the team as a whole.

“This budget, for where we would like to be as a program, it doesn’t cover everything we would like to do,” Olson said.

Both Cathey and Olson said that they are thankful for the opportunity to coach at Whitworth, but both programs could use more money and resources if made available.

These sentiments were echoed by the head coach of the Pirates football team, Rod Sandberg. He said it is not uncommon for his team to spend more than what is allocated to the program, consequently going over budget “every other year.”

Football is the largest program at Whitworth University, with a total of 115 players. As such, according to Sandberg, the Pirates have one of the largest budgets for travel in the conference, around $90,000. That is due primarily to location.

However, with just a $14,000 recruiting budget, which Sandberg said is one of the smallest in the conference, the team must look for creative ways to recruit players. One way the team achieves that is through fundraisers and events, which allows the coaching staff to raise money to be able to attend summer training camps.  

The athletic staff of Whitworth University said that if it were not for the fundraising opportunities that each team had during the season the department would be underfunded and adequately meet the needs of the players.

The $400,000 raised for the department through fundraisers accounts for more than thirteen percent of the overall budget.

“Fundraisers are huge, they are significant,” Demant said. “…That’s just covering what we do. That’s nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, it’s paying the bus company to take us down to Portland or buying meals so the students can eat.”

Voting Trends at Whitworth

December 12, 2016

Whitworth University finds itself in a politically unique part of the country. Spokane is on the conservative side of a liberal state. It is a Christian school—which typically are conservative—with a left-leaning faculty.

These aspects make Whitworth a politically diverse campus compared to traditional state Universities.

Sociology professor Stacy George said that Whitworth’s political identity depends on the sphere that its running in. When compared to most independent universities, Whitworth is seen as conservative, but compared to other Christian schools, we are seen as liberal, she said.

“From the outside, I think that society views us as a Christian college and people often equate Christianity with conservatism,” George said. “Which clearly isn’t the case, looking across the campus. I think overall if you are going to include public universities, we’d fall on the conservative, moderate end of the spectrum.”

However, according to a poll by CNN, Donald Trump performed very well among college aged white males. Which make up a great deal of Whitworth’s student body.

Luke Atherton, vice president of the Whitworth political science club, said he believes the great numbers of the young male vote comes from the drive young people have to create change.

“Part of being young is wanting to change things,” Atherton said. “I think some of it is reactionism to the fact that we have some serious issues and…it’s easy for the party that has been out of power to come in and say ‘We’re going to make some serious changes and it’s going to affect your life.’”

Atherton also feels that Whitworth leaned left in this election and more people voted for Clinton than voted for Trump.

“In the polls that were done on campus, generally Hillary or Bernie [Sanders] won,” Atherton said. “So I would say there were a lot of more left-leaning students.”

Atherton also believed there were a lot of students on campus that held conservative values, but were hesitant to cast their vote for Trump. Among those students women were especially troubled, Atherton said.

Ultimately, Whitworth remains in a unique part of the country that pulls students from liberal and conservative states alike. The 2016 election is over and by the time the 2020 election is underway, a whole new class of students with possibly dramatically different political views will be voting from Whitworth.

Now that the 2016 Presidential Election has ended and President-Elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, the “silent majority,” has been popularized to describe the great numbers of Trump-supporters that seemingly came out of nowhere to elect the next president.

Members of the silent majority are found all across the country, including college campuses like Whitworth University. Those students are part of a unique group that found success in the election, but does not like to discuss the fact that it supports Donald Trump.

“I don’t bring it up to anyone,” senior Scott Weir said. “I’m not over here partying and celebrating that the candidate that I voted for won.”

Those individuals are hesitant to speak out for their candidate for a number of reasons including the general dissatisfaction with both of the major parties’ candidates.

With this election being her first opportunity to vote, junior Tricia Saylor said she was not excited about her options.

“I couldn’t stand either candidate,” Saylor said. “They were both awful. I guess for me, my thing was, they were both bad. Its like you have a liar or just a slimey person in office.”

Additionally, both Saylor and Weir feel dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, even though they voted for the winning candidate.

“I couldn’t stand either candidate,” Saylor said. “But in a way, yes, I am glad that between it, I’m glad that Trump won, not Hillary.”

Weir blames his dissatisfaction with outcome of the election on the two-party system.

“I mean I’m as satisfied as I can be,” Weir said. “With the two major party system you really don’t get to choose—if you vote with your party you don’t get to choose within the confines of what you necessarily agree with. I wouldn’t say that I’m satisfied with the presidential election or the options given.”

However, not every person who voted for Trump is dissatisfied with the outcome of the election. Junior Brad Benton is an ardent Trump-supporter and is pleased to see the Republican candidate take the office of the presidency. However, most of Benton’s decision to vote for Trump stemmed from his negative views of Hillary Clinton.

“Honestly, I would have voted for a monkey if he was running as the Republican nominee before I voted for Hillary Clinton,” Benton said. “So my decision was really driven by a lot by disliking her as well as seeing some things that I liked from Trump.”

One of the major reasons that moved students to remain silent about their support for Trump is the unintended backlash they receive from peers and family.

“There’s been a few heated conversations between me and my girlfriend,” Weir said.

Weir also said that he has become annoyed at the recent rhetoric that republicans and Trump supporters are typically less educated.

“Liberals are not necessarily more educated,” he said. “Fox News, CNN, everybody keeps saying, ‘Oh, these states are going to go blue because they’re more educated.’…This isn’t necessarily the case. There are conservative, college-educated individuals that chose to vote for Donald Trump…So there is this preconceived notion and it’s wrong and it’s upsetting.”

Saylor said she had experienced backlash on social media where people told her that she should be ashamed for voting for Donald Trump. Additionally, she received backlash from her own housemates.

“I am the only one in my house that voted for Trump,” Saylor said. “I think that there’s a lot of bad blood between two of my housemates [who] are very pro-Clinton and so they bashed Trump a lot.”

Benton has had a Donald Trump sign was stolen from his backyard multiple times. However, Benton said he has made it a point to not let the backlash get in the way of his daily life.

“I have some friends who are big Hillary supporters and we got in some conversations,” Benton said. “I’m not going to let politics get in the way of a relationship within my family or with my friends.

The attempts to avoid backlash and judgement from others have caused many like Weir to fall into the category of the silent majority. Weir has decided not to bring up the fact that he voted for Donald Trump due to the possible judgement that he might face.

“I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Donald Trump says,” Weir said. “But if you automatically say that you voted for Donald Trump there’s stigma that you’re uneducated, that you’re a bigot, that you don’t care about women, you don’t care about all of these other things. Which isn’t true.”

Weir said that he continues to abide by the rules he had been taught as a child. Politics and religion are not meant to be brought up at the dinner table.

“Because it’s so personal, people immediately get preconceived notions of who you are as a person, and they’re not necessarily willing to hear you out as to why you voted that way,” Weir said.

Benton believes that people should not have to be afraid of speaking their political views and that the silent majority is feeling more comfortable coming out of the woodwork. He and his friends will continue to be vocal with their support for Trump, Benton said.

“I don’t think that there is any reason for people to hide it,” Benton said. “At least not that I’ve seen. We don’t fear any backlash. I don’t fear any backlash. I’m just proud to have been part of a system that allows us to vote for a president.”