The Portland State campus was quieter than usual yesterday, savefor the hushed murmurs of “Bush” and “Kerry” over cell phones orbetween groups of friends.
When news of Sen. John Kerry’s concession to George W. Bushbegan to spread through campus yesterday morning, the campus tookon a solemn tone.
“I haven’t seen any place so somber and quiet as this placetoday,” student Rebecca Cornwall said.
PSU has had a flurry of political activity over the past fewweeks. The sudden absence yesterday of the largely anti-Bushcampaign noise offered a stark contrast to the days before.
Many students stayed up into the dawn hours to watch the resultscome in, and still made it to class in the morning. As the finaloutcome appeared certain, emotions ran high as people struggled tomove from disappointment to acceptance. Concerned students could beseen huddling around the television in Smith Memorial StudentUnion, reading newspapers and, in some cases, even crying.
“I think overall I had a feeling he [Bush] was going to win,”student Catherine Mayfield said. “But when it actually happened itwas kind of depressing.”
“I’ve gone through all the stages of grief,” Cornwall said. “Atfirst I was really sad, and then I felt helpless.”
“I was more than a little disappointed,” student Doug Harveysaid. “People really had a lot of hope for this election and theidea of change … I think there’s a lot of bummed people outthere.”
Many students sought solace in their friends and like-mindedclassmates around campus after hearing the election results.
Mayfield listened to Kerry’s concession speech with otherstudents in her painting class yesterday morning and said that sheand other students discussed the outcome afterward.
“I was glad to be here where everyone is talking about it,” shesaid.
Cornwall, who is from Alabama, said that she felt lucky to be ina place where many people share her political outlook.
“I’m so glad I’m here with other people that are upset,” shesaid. “It’s good to be in a [Democratic] state.”
Although they were disappointed, many students also tried tofind some positive aspects in the outcome.
Cornwall said that she took comfort in the knowledge thatefforts in Oregon to turn out democratic voters were mostlysuccessful.
“I know we did all we could here,” she said.
Before the election, Cornwall worked as a campus coordinator forVoteMob, a group aimed at increasing young voter turnout, also saidthat she is more motivated than ever to get politically active andhopes the results will get other people motivated, too.
“The positive spin is that he [Bush] cannot run again,” Harveysaid. “The question is, who will run in his place?”