University of South Florida students from both sides of the political aisle are getting fired up about the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump on Friday.
‘The Donald’ as he’s known in some circles, is expected to be speaking to thousands of students and Tampa Bay Area residents when he arrives at the USF Sun Dome Friday night about his politics.
“I think it’s very good that Donald Trump is coming to the University of South Florida campus,” said USF student Michael Bryk. “Due to the fact that he is not the most popular candidate here. His platform and ideas can make America great again and I feel like the University of South Florida is overlooking that.”
Bryk spoke while eating lunch at a table in the Marshall Student Center, just down the street from the Sun Dome, on USF’s Tampa campus. He and his friend, Alec Waid, said they consider themselves conservatives. Waid said he has is more excited that a presidential candidate is coming to campus.
“I think it’s exciting that a major political rally is coming to the Sun Dome,” Waid said. “I think it does a lot for us as a university as we grow to be one of the largest in the state. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of (Trump’s) ideas or plans but I do think it’s an exciting move for USF’s growth.”
Not every student shares this enthusiasm, however, as several students expressed their frustration and outright dislike for Trump.
“Trump cannot speak to me as a student—as a college student,” said international studies major Mai Bashir from Richmond, Virginia.
Bashir said she thought the rally is a publicity stunt to gain more attention from local media, rather than to acquire actual votes.
Other students at USF have taken the next step to organize a “Dump the Trump” protest outside of the Sun Dome before and during the rally. One of the students participating, Eaman Zayed, is a Palestinian-American who rejects Trump’s often fiery rhetoric.
“We have a right to say no to him just like he has the right to be there and say that I have these plans for one of the strongest nations in the world,” Zayed said. “We have a right to say that no, we do not allow you here, we do not agree with your tactics, we do not agree with what you have planned for the United States.”
As a Muslim, Zayed said she’s felt marginalized and called Trump’s speeches hate speech.
“I do not welcome him. I say no to him. I say we dump the Trump,” Zayed said.
Admission to the Trump rally is free to the public, and as of Tuesday evening, tickets were still available. Parking at the Sun Dome will cost $20.