U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton brought her campaign to UCR on Tuesday, May 24 to promote her policies regarding education, wealth inequality and mental health issues.
Over 1,000 students and community members outside of the Johnson Family Practice Center before the event and formed a line that extended from the athletic center to the humanities buildings.
At the front of this line, however, was a group consisting of about 30 student protesters who called themselves the “Highlanders Against Hillary.” The protesters began their march at the entrance of the rally, shouting phrases like “Hillary, Hillary can’t you see, H is for Hypocrisy,” while holding signs that expressed general dislike for her.
The “Highlanders Against Hillary” movement started when a few students who believed that Clinton serving as president would be detrimental to the country, united over social media and discussed the negative impact that her visit could have on the campus.
One of the protest coordinators, fourth year theatre and political science double major Fernando Echeverria, claimed that, upon gathering people who disapproved of Clinton’s planned visit through social media, “We found that a lot of the campus community has a similar sentiment. Not because everyone is pro-Bernie, but because Hillary need(s) to be open to critique as the frontrunner. She is not perfect, and there are issues in this country that need to be addressed.”
The issues they were referring to are voiced in their mission statement on Facebook, which states, “This event is a protest against a candidate who does not represent our interests … she is a right-of-center, third-way corporatist who represents a dominant oligarchical class that has ravaged and displaced communities of color … we will not allow her to use our university to promote her candidacy.”
CHASS Senator-elect Semi Cole, though not affiliated with the “Highlanders Against Hillary” movement, shared similar critical views toward Clinton and her policies. Cole attended the rally to “hold Hillary accountable for the things she has said.” According to Cole, Clinton has specifically been inconsistent with the African-American community, where she “tries to present herself as a liberal, as someone who cares for people of color, yet … she did not support the Civil Rights Movement, (but rather) worked against the Civil Rights Movement” with her work under Barry Goldwater. When asked about the protesters outside of the rally, Cole was empathetic to their cause and optimistic about the results, saying, “I definitely support it … I feel like we really need that political atmosphere to discern the truth.”