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GRCC students react to presidential debate

Democrat Hillary Clinton, right, and Republican Donald Trump during their first presidential debate on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 in Hempstead, N.Y. (Qin Lang/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)

Compiled by Brandi Quintero & Kayla Tucker

The morning after the Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the stage to debate, the Grand Rapids Community College campus was anything but void of commentary.

From Donald Trump’s numerous interruptions to Hillary’s apology for her 33,000 unreleased emails, this debate will be one to remember forever.

When it was all said and done, GRCC Political Science Professor Keith St. Clair said Clinton won the debate.

“(Trump) seemed to have Hilary on the back foot at the beginning, with the trade issues and jobs and then, as the debate went on, she seemed to get the best of him near the end, and quit well,” St. Clair said.

Gordon Vurusic, also a political science professor at GRCC, agreed that Clinton won.

“She was more composed , she had much better command of the issues, she was more successful in unraveling the cool of the other candidate, Mr. Donald Trump,” Vurusic said. “But Donald Trump still managed to present himself as a candidate of change. In the sense that he kept attacking Hillary Clinton by saying: ‘You have been in politics for thirty years and you have changed nothing.’”

Joe Strands, of Grandville, said he “kind of” watched the debate.

“I thought it was kind of funny, but they kind of argued more about personal information and just tried to bash each other,” Strands said.

While those who watched the debate hosted by NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt disagree on who won, most who tuned in seemed to be entertained.

Nancy Richard, 70, GVSU archivist visiting GRCC’s campus Tuesday, said Trump was rude.

“He sniffed through the whole debate,” Richard said.“I thought Hillary was good. She didn’t take the bait. She held up really well against Trump. I was worried about her.”

Lydia Schmitt, 19, of Byron Center said the debate was very one-sided.

“Lester was asking Hillary questions and focusing more on Hillary and Trump had to keep defending himself,” Schmitt said.

Pat Hornick, 64, of Grand Rapids, said it wasn’t a debate.

“It was a discussion on who was going to get the last word,” Hornick said.

Michael Price,18, said he didn’t like what Trump said.

“I didn’t really like the things he said about race,” Price said. “I don’t support everything Hillary says but I like how she is inclusive of everybody. She said some good points, Trump had some good points, but overall I’d probably go with Hillary.”

Elizabeth Griffin, 56, said she was “thrilled at how composed and clear headed” Clinton was.

“I could absolutely trust her,” Griffin said.“She gave clear responses, and I thought Donald Trump was quite evasive.He did not give clear responses on how he would build the economy. I just trusted Hillary and she kept her composure and I just felt like she was quite wise.”

St. Clair said the there are not that many people at this point who are on the fence about who to vote for.

“Is it going to win any Trump supporters over to Hilary? No,” St. Clair said about anyone who may be changing their minds at this point. “Is it going to win any Hillary supporters over to Trump? No, but people who are truly on the fence, who must be an endangered species, they might have been swayed.”

The students who skipped last night’s debate had their reasons. Rhonda Kekenta, cashier at the GRCC bookstore, said she didn’t watch the debate because she “is sick of Hillary’s emails, and sick of (hearing about) Donald’s tax returns.” If she wanted to hear people bicker, Kekenta she would watch the “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Raynard Ross, Associate Dean of Student Success and Retention, 45, of Grand Rapids, said he didn’t tune in because he is “frustrated and annoyed with partisan politics in general.”

Meanwhile, Macy Baker, 20, of Holland, said she didn’t watch the debate.

“I don’t care about politics and I don’t like either of the candidates,” Baker said.

Nicolas Rodela, 28, Grand Rapids, said he didn’t watch the debate because of Trump.

“I stopped watching it because I can’t handle Trump’s mannerisms,” Rodela said. “He just can’t keep his mouth shut when it isn’t his turn.”

Phoebe Leek, 19, of England, offered an international perspective.

“I feel bad for Americans because neither candidate is a good political leader,” Leek said.

The following Collegiate reporters contributed to this report: Ashley Pell, Rachael Yadlowsky, Courtney Zenner, Talitha Hankins, Kosha Oswald, Jordyn Horton, Matthew Rios, Jonathan Stache, Jesse Shira, Karsen Leek, and Johnny Matias.


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