Central Students for Trump

Students+for+Trump+supporters+rally+around+a+sign+outside+of+the+campus+Republicans+meeting.+Ammon+%28left%29+is+the+leader.
Students for Trump supporters rally around a sign outside of the campus Republicans meeting. Ammon (left) is the leader.

Students for Trump supporters rally around a sign outside of the campus Republicans meeting. Ammon (left) is the leader.

Ray Payne/The Observer

Ray Payne/The Observer

Students for Trump supporters rally around a sign outside of the campus Republicans meeting. Ammon (left) is the leader.

Ray Payne, Staff Reporter

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The recent instances of pro-Donald Trump chalk drawings appearing on campus have brought attention to the newly formed Students for Trump (SFT) club, led by Isaiah Ammon, who is also the director of the Washington state chapter.

SFT is an unofficial national organization working to garner support from college and high school students to assist the campaign of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“The goal for Students for Trump is to get pledges from student members to vote for Trump in the primaries across the nation to help him win the election,” Ammon said.

SFT isn’t recognized as an official club on campus since it’s currently endorsing a specific political candidate.

Despite the lack of official recognition, the club is still catching the curiosity of students.

“You definitely do get people who are curious,” Ammon said, as he explained how the population of SFT members has grown because of the lack of reliable information available.

Ammon explained that part of his role at SFT is to answer questions about Donald Trump and the election, and to educate students on why they should vote for the Republican frontrunner.

“I have a lot of friends, a lot of races, I understand politics, I will acknowledge first that Donald Trump says some stupid stuff,” Ammon said. “But when he writes out his plans, I like it.”

Ammon said he is not alone in his support of Donald Trump; the club has been gaining traction and has a growing population of supporters at Central.

According to a poll by USA Today, Donald Trump leads the GOP in the 18-34 age group by 26 percent, although he still trails both Democratic candidates.

The CWU College Democrats have presented and welcomed  the group, despite a difference in opinion and recent controversies at other universities.

“I obviously  disagree strongly with Donald Trump’s beliefs,” said Andrew Parsons, CWU College Democrats’ president. “But the constitution allows for freedom of assembly and I think the more students involved with politics the better.”

Other universities’ SFT  organizations have made headlines with recent controversies over the chalk drawings and SFT members encouraging others to debate them.

At Portland State, Black Lives Matters activists protested during a SFT meeting, following a trend of protests at universities around the country.

The CWU Black Student Union declined to comment on the presence of the club at Central.

The CWU College Democrats are fine with SFT’s message, as long as it stays respectful.

“Just because there is a club that thinks differently than we do, doesn’t mean we have to protest them,” Parsons said. “Now if they start saying or doing racist things, that’s a different story, and yes, we would probably counter protest.”

Ammon is aware that he may face people who don’t agree with him or his views, and might be hostile towards him.

“Sure I’ll get people who don’t like Trump, I mean I don’t like Hillary Clinton, you know,” he said.

There was little to no response from Central’s administration regarding the Trump chalk drawings, compare to other universities where the higher-ups felt the need to address it.      

“Central’s a great university because I haven’t really experienced as many of these [reactions], like the crazy colleges you hear trying to take away First Amendment rights,” Ammon said. “I haven’t personally experienced a lot of that.”

Although the club isn’t officially recognized by the university, a legitimate concern is whether other clubs and organizations on campus are going to tolerate its presence in the long run.

“Banning a legitimate student organization would be absurd in my opinion, and would do nothing to deter students from supporting Trump,” Parsons said. “Instead, it would reaffirm the stereotype that liberals are trying to take away [the] freedom of speech.”

One known obstacle for SFT is that his supporters are often portrayed as racists or bigots.

“It’s a little controversial, but I’m not denying that there are racist Trump supporters,” Ammon said.

But despite the poor image that Trump supporters have to overcome, some students still choose to inquire about the actual motivation behind supporters, instead of thinking that Trump supporters only back him for racist reasons.

“I think that we should give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re a Trump supporter for maybe other reasons,” Parsons said.

Parsons said he’s concerned about the lack of the student involvement in politics, so he wanted there to be more students involved, even if they don’t agree with him.

It was for this reason that he said he appreciated the presence of College Republicans (CR) on campus.

“I know a lot of the College Republicans and they’re really nice people,” he said. “I don’t agree with them on a lot of things, but I’m glad that they’re there. I’m glad that their group exists and I’m glad that instead of just being a hater they’re actually doing something.”

Despite some negative responses, Ammon still remains positive about the future of Students for Trump at Central.

“I just want students to be open minded. If they’re curious, come talk to a CR or someone involved in this, or come talk to me and we’re not going to judge against ‘you’,” he said. “If you don’t like Trump, you don’t like Trump. Just like a lot of people don’t like Sanders or Clinton.”

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