Colleges delay classes and exams, offer stress-healing therapies after Trump victory

UC Berkeley students Josey Garcia (L) and Gustavo Navarez hold each other during a protest in response to the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Berkeley, California, U.S. November 9, 2016. © Elijah Nouvelage
As Americans comes to terms with the election results, students seem to need extra time and care to cope with Donald Trump’s victory. Colleges across the US have canceled classes and exams, offered disaster counseling and dog and coloring book therapies.

Since Wednesday, schools have been trying to help students recover from election day, which for some ended in a shocking outcome.

Classes were canceled or postponed the morning after the elections at some colleges due to understanding that students had stayed up late to wait for the results. Some professors even decided that holding exams would be counterproductive because students complained about “serious stress.”

One University of Michigan psychology professor postponed an exam until November 16.

“However one feels about the results of this important election, it’s clear that it (and the period leading up to it) is/has been very distracting and upsetting to many students,” professor John Snodgrass wrote in an email, cited by the College Fix. “I’ve been receiving many emails in recent hours from students requesting to delay the exam due to associated serious stress.”

At Columbia University in New York, about a dozen midterm exams were postponed, according to the university’s newspaper.

“Instead of studying for my exam, I was glued to the election update,” one student said. “It's not fair to have a test the following day when something so monumental is taking place, especially when this event is threatening so many groups of people in our country.”

Student councils and petitions also requested class cancellations.

“Students looked a bit shaken, not really focused on what we were doing in class,” political science professor Justin Phillips told Columbia Spectator. “People looked tired; it looked like some people had probably been crying. I think it was very palpable in the room.”

At Yale College, exams have also been made optional with one professor reportedly saying that he received heartfelt notes from students, including some “who fear, rightly or wrongly, for their own families.”

Even Harvard followed suit. Some professors postponed assignments or altered lesson plans to “ease students' schedules.”

Cornell University students took a different approach and held acry-in,” which the school’s staff supplied with tissues and hot chocolate. 

One student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond took matters into his hands and spent eight hours offering free hugs to everyone on Election Night.

Alejandro Andrade held a hand-written banner that read: “In light of the hate and/or mistrust… FREE HUGS,” according to the Good News Network.

Tufts University offered to heal the shock with arts and crafts, while University of Michigan students were welcome to distract themselves from bad news by playing with Play-Doh and coloring in coloring books. 

The University of Kansas turned to four-legged “psychologists” and offered students puppy therapy.

In New York, elite private schools also decided to help students handle Trump’s victory by offering “emergency counseling”, a measure which is usually used at times of catastrophes and disastrous events.

“Our students brought a great deal of emotion, anxiety and strong feelings into the building with them this morning that we made every effort to acknowledge and respect,” Principal Hamilton Clark of the Avenues: The World School wrote in a letter to parents, according to the New York Post.

At Hofstra University, which hosted the first presidential debate this year, students, especially those upset with the results, were invited to discuss elections at a session called “A Way Forward: A Discussion on the 2016 Presidential Election.”