Last night at approximately 11:30 p.m., Senator Barack Obama was declared the next president of the United States. He will be inaugurated, along side Senator Joe Biden as Vice President, on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.
When Obama reached the required 270 electoral votes for the win, hundreds of Bloomsburg students came teeming from dorms and gathered in front of Elwell. The crowd marched downtown and past the Democratic headquarters. They were dancing and cheering in the streets, ecstatic about Obama’s victory. The crowd then traveled back to Carver Hall and gathered on the steps there, chanting and waving signs.
As the group traversed from place to place, police cars supervised the impromptu gathering, which remained peaceful. The majority of the group was African Americans, and several of them had attended the Homecoming dance this past Saturday, Nov. 1st at Kehr Union. According to some students, they received undeserved, forceful treatment by police at this dance. Through interviews and chants, it became obvious that these students felt that the treatment was a racial issue, but as they also expressed, last night’s election at least partially resolved it.
The dance, held at the Kehr Union and co-sponsored by the Program Board and Greek Affairs, was attended by nearly 500 students. During the event, campus police attempted to calm two scuffles, according to a mass email sent to students this week by University president, President Soltz. In the email, President Soltz explains that when the attempts to calm an unruly situation failed, the Town and State Police were called to the scene. As confirmed by several students at the rally who also attened the dance, and by the mass email from Soltz, some innocent bystanders at the dance were pepper sprayed.
“They treated us like animals,” stated one student from the steps of Carver last night, when refering to the Homecoming dance incident.
“This (Obama’s election) makes it all so much better,” said another student.
Several in the group began chanting “No more mace,” and yelling at the police cars as they passed.
Videography by Joe Arleth, Shannon Hoffman, Eric Sellix, Tony Brino, and Kyle Smith.
Video interviews with the Obama supporters to follow!