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Vice presidential nominees fail to impress students

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published October 12, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

After the vice presidential debate, Ella White, a senior biology student, said she has doubts about the qualifications of both Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

“I don’t think that either of them are strong enough to handle the top position if it came down to it,” White said. “Neither of them really took a stance on anything. They just sat and defended their primary candidate.”

When asked by the debate moderator about their qualifications to potentially fulfill the role of president, both nominees referenced their experience in government.

Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, served in multiple public offices since 1994, including mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and senator.

Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, held positions in public office since 2000 when he was elected as a member of Congress, representing Indiana’s second and sixth congressional districts. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2012.

Throughout the debate, both vice presidential nominees defended their candidate and attacked the other. In his opening remark, Kaine expressed his concern regarding a Trump presidency.

“We have a son deployed overseas in the Marine Corps right now. We trust Hillary Clinton as president and commander-in-chief, but the thought of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares us to death,” Kaine said.

White agrees with Kaine’s statement.

“Trump is going to go in there and he’s going to piss people off and he’s going to set up a situation to where they’re reacting from an emotional state instead of a logical one,” White said. “So there’s no room for compromise or respect with him, whereas Hillary can be respectful. She was Secretary of State. She’s got a lot of experience in foreign policy.”

Kaine next asked whether Pence would defend Trump’s 1995 tax returns recently published by the New York Times. The tax returns showed over $900 million in losses that may have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

“Absolutely I will,” Pence said.

Pence said Trump followed the tax code as it should be used and that he did it brilliantly.

Robert Rynard, a sophomore accounting student from Mooresville, said the defense of Trump’s avoidance to pay federal income tax comes from a place of privilege.

“We actually talked about his tax returns in my class. There was nothing wrong with what he did from a legal standpoint. But from a business standpoint, it’s very poor business,” Rynard said. “He wasn’t doing well one year and then benefitted from that. It’s really something that only privileged people can do. Lower income families don’t have the resources to do that.”

The debate moderator brought up a topic that was touched on in the first presidential debate, police shootings and community relations with the police. Kaine took the question in a new direction by saying background checks could lower overall gun violence in the long run.

“We can support the Second Amendment and do things like background record checks that will make us safer and that will make police safer, too,” Kaine said.

White agrees with Kaine.

“I do not think that our gun policy is reasonable,” White said. “I understand the Second Amendment, but there should be extensive background checks and there should be a limit to the number and type of guns that people are allowed to own.”

Throughout the election, Trump and Pence have complimented the leadership of Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. Clinton has criticized this support, suggesting Trump’s relationship with Putin is unpatriotic and represents a national threat.

Rynard said the Democratic presidential nominee is stoking the fears of an older generation.

“Bringing that up is a fear tactic because older people are still in that mindset of when the Cold War was happening,” Rynard said. “They think, ‘Russians are bad, Americans are good,’ and I think that’s just a fear tactic.”

Rynard said this election brings out extreme partisanship in people and being more moderate is more conducive to progress.

“Any too far left or too far right is not a good environment for change,” Rynard said. “I think compromise is necessary communication and I think anyone too far either way is too cemented in their ideals to ever really promote change.”

Mary Bolch, a junior creative writing student, said she is not impressed by any of the nominees and that she is ready for the election to be over.

“I wish Bernie Sanders was still a candidate,” Bolch said. “I feel like most of us on this campus are on the same page, which is really nice.”

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First presidential debate sparks controversy

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published October 4, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

The first debate between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton centered on three topics: “America’s prosperity,” “America’s direction” and “securing America.”

Many students at UNC Asheville are reluctant to support either candidate and Ashley Moraguez, an assistant professor of political science at UNCA, said this hesitancy among voters signals a larger political shift.

“I think on both sides this might be indicating something much bigger than this election,” Moraguez said. “We might have a party realignment happening in the next few party cycles. In political history, every 50 to 60 years, we have a new party alignment where the parties shift and their bases shift and this might be a signal that we have one coming.”

Moraguez said the amount of support Sen. Bernie Sanders received during the primaries may mean the Democratic Party has to move to the left in order to appeal to its base.

“I think Bernie was able to show a rift within the Democratic Party that we perhaps weren’t as cognizant about,” she said.

Moraguez said since the 1970s, political polarization of the parties continues to increase. She said political polarization is defined as parties becoming more ideologically distinct from one another and at the same time becoming more cohesive within the party.

“In this election we certainly have polarizing candidates. They’re very different from one another, but we don’t have that party cohesion,” Moraguez said. “The two parties aren’t rallying around Hillary and Trump in a cohesive or coherent way.”

Both candidates are struggling to gain the public’s approval.

“They are the least favorable presidential candidates we’ve had since 1964. Goldwater was the lowest historically speaking and Trump has fallen right below Goldwater’s rankings and Hillary is right above those rankings,” Moraguez said.

Beginning with the topic of prosperity, the candidates were asked about job creation and income inequality. Hillary Clinton said jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation and technology, renewable energy and small businesses were her focus. She also said the economy has to be made fairer by raising the national minimum wage and guaranteeing equal pay for women’s work.

“I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future,” Clinton said.

Donald Trump said jobs in the U.S. are being lost to Mexico. To stop companies from leaving, Trump’s plan will reduce taxes from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies and businesses across the board. He said this would incentivize companies to come to the U.S. and expand.

“We have to renegotiate our trade deals and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs,” Trump said.

Abigail Stephens, a junior history student at UNCA, said Clinton’s debt-free college proposal means a lot to her.

“Student debt is important to me. I think that’s probably important to everyone who’s going to college at the moment,” said Stephens, hailing from Raleigh. “We’re all terrified about what our future is going to look like.”

Stephens said Trump’s job plan seems unreasonable.

“I didn’t think Trump’s responses on jobs going overseas were very coherent and I also know that his tax plan would be terrible for single mothers,” Stephens said.

An analysis by Lily Batchelder, former deputy director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, shows Trump’s tax plan would increase taxes for an estimated 7.8 million families with children. The analysis said these families “represent 20 percent of households with minor children and more than half of single parents.” The group includes about 25 million adults and 15 million children.

During the next segment on America’s direction, the moderator asked the candidates about “healing the divide” between race relations, given the context of police shootings of African-Americans.

Clinton said police officers require better training and should use force only when necessary. She also said trust needs to be restored between communities and the police.

Trump said the U.S. needs law and order.

“If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country,” Trump said. “And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, the city I love, the city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s … I can keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country.”

Lily Furniss, junior art student from the Chicago metropolitan area, said she was disappointed by the candidates’ answers.

“I was disappointed by their take on the police and justice reform,” Furniss said. “Clinton said everyone has some sort of implicit bias, not just the police, but I wish she went more in-depth with that because a lot of people think we’re in this post-racial society or they don’t think race is a factor. But that’s just not true at all.”

Moraguez said the lack of in-depth answers in these debates is by design.

“One thing to note about debates is that candidates really prepare for them. They have these memorized, five-second answers that they want to get out there,” Moraguez said. “So part of the reason it seems like they’re not answering the questions is because they’re taking any opportunity to get those practice statements in. Presidential debates tend to be light on policy in general.”

Continuing with the topic of race relations and the police, Trump said inner cities are dangerous for African-Americans and Hispanics.

“We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African-Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous,” Trump said. “You walk down the street, you get shot.”

Stephens said Trump tried to appeal to minority voters.

“There’s a disconnect because he’s saying, ‘Everything about your life is terrible, you’ve done nothing to improve it,’” Stephens said.

Furniss said Trump was trying to indulge specific audiences.

“I don’t even know why he’s trying to pander at this point,” Furniss said. “A big reason why Hillary won over Bernie Sanders is because she cleared the southern states with the African-American vote.”

For the final segment, “securing America,” cyber attacks and terrorism were discussed.

Clinton said cyber warfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next president and the U.S. has a greater capacity than countries that might try to steal information or damage infrastructure. She said she does not want to engage in a different kind of warfare but will defend the U.S.

Trump connected the threat of cyber attacks to terrorists using the internet.

“I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the internet, they’re beating us at our own game,” Trump said. “So we have to get very, very tough on cyber warfare.”

Clinton said part of her plan to defeat ISIS involves preventing members from using “the internet to radicalize, even direct people in our country and Europe and elsewhere.” She also said the U.S. has to increase military force against ISIS.

“We have to intensify our airstrikes against ISIS and eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to take out ISIS in Raqqa, end their claim of being a caliphate,” Clinton said.

Furniss said she holds concerns about Clinton’s foreign policy.

“I think she’s going to basically continue what Obama’s been doing, the drone strikes in Yemen, for example,” Furniss said.

Drone strikes have been carried out by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. The program was expanded by President Obama leading to an increase in drone strikes.

Stephens said Clinton’s foreign policy worries her, too.

“I have issues with her foreign policy, especially with the use of drones and the fact that much of the time they don’t actually go after anybody who’s done anything,” Stephens said. “That’s a large part of the reason I’m hesitant about her.”

Moraguez said she is interested to see where the current political climate leads.

“This is a really interesting time to follow party politics and I think what’s happening is much bigger than 2016,” Moraguez said. “2020 is going to be a very interesting election cycle. I’m looking forward to it.”


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Students continue to feel lasting impact of HB2

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published September 27, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

After a proposed deal to repeal House Bill 2 recently failed, UNC Asheville students discussed the social consequences and economic impact of the bill.

On Sept. 18, two top state legislators proposed the repeal of HB2, but the repeal would only happen if the city of Charlotte repealed its transgender nondiscrimination ordinance first. The following day, Charlotte’s mayor said the city would not repeal its ordinance.

Will Frisbee, a junior physics student from Asheville who identifies as non-binary, said HB2 negatively targets specific people.

“People who don’t conform very well to the gender identity they have or to the identity they’ve been assigned at birth are typically targeted as deviant, they’re targeted as outcasts,” Frisbee said. “As someone who’s non-binary, I don’t believe it’s necessary for people to fit into one of those boxes for gender.”

“I think it’s an unfair law,” said Sarah Mendelsohn, a sophomore political science student from Baltimore, Maryland.. “It’s a very minor issue that was blown out of proportion.”

Mendelsohn said HB2 represents an underlying attitude directed at a specific group of people.

“I think this is representative of a lot of the attitudes towards the LGBT community and that to me is the most startling,” Mendelsohn said. “From what I’ve seen, no one here in Asheville is really complying with HB2, so I think the effects of it aren’t necessarily detrimental, but I think it represents something a lot more concerning.”

Oliver Richards, a junior sociology student from Raleigh who identifies as non-binary, said the rhetoric surrounding HB2 has been used to make the public afraid of transgender people.

“People have been twisting this rhetoric as if the bill is protecting children and women. It provides an easy target and the target is vulnerable, it tells people who they should be afraid of,” Richards said. “It’s this idea of creating a target and saying, ‘these people who never have been a problem before, you should be afraid of them because they’re going to hurt the children.’ Children and women are used as rhetorical devices to justify bigotry and harm.”

Frisbee said the public’s fear of transgender people is unfounded.

“If you think this is what trans people are doing, then you are mistaken,” Frisbee said. “We just want to pee, we just want to take a shit and we just want to go on with our lives like everyone else.”

Frisbee said the public concern about bathrooms being used by transgender people was not prevalent before HB2.

“Trans people were made hypervisible after the passage of HB2 because no one really thought about them being in the same bathroom,” Frisbee said. “Where the hell do you think they’ve been going to the bathroom all this time? No one really thought about it until the bill came along and pointed out that that might be potentially dangerous.”

Richards said the public’s emotions are being targeted.

“A lot of the language that’s been used is meant to evoke emotional responses in people to say, ‘this is who you should be afraid of’ rather than looking at the actual facts,” Richards said. “It has labeled an entire population as predatory or dangerous simply for how they live their lives.”

Mischa D’Errico, a sophomore biology student from Raleigh, said the aftermath of HB2 has been both positive and negative.

“It’s definitely hurting the state as a whole,” D’Errico said. “The NBA All-Star game was going to bring so much revenue and McCrory really sacrificed that.”

On July 21 the NBA announced they were pulling the 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte. The game was expected to generate an estimated $100 million. On Sept. 12 the NCAA decided to pull its seven championship tournaments out of the state and on Sept. 14 the ACC withdrew its football title game as well.

“I know a lot of artists have canceled their concerts here or postponed because they don’t agree with the bill,” D’Errico said. “But some artists and bands that I’ve seen still performed here and all their proceeds went to supporting the LGBT community, which I thought was really awesome.”

Frisbee said the boycotts of North Carolina are predominantly affecting poor people.

“They think they’re doing good, but the first people to feel the effects of economic downturns are poor people and those are the people the bill is hurting,” Frisbee said. “Pat McCrory has also taken emergency aid and put it toward defending the bill.”

State lawmakers approved legislation that transferred $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to Gov. Pat McCrory’s office to be used for the costs associated with the litigation of HB2.

Karly Raymond, a sophomore management student from Atlanta, Georgia, said the economic fallout can be reversed.

“I think it’s reversible,” Raymond said. “It’s definitely something that we’re going to have to work on because it’s a pretty devastating thing to a lot of the people in North Carolina for everyone to look at us and see that we’ve done something like this.”

The estimated financial loss after boycotts and protests of the state is currently around $395 million.

Raymond said one of her friends moved to Asheville in order to feel more comfortable, but HB2 has made his move unsettling.

“He moved up here to Asheville specifically to get some freedom from being right outside of Atlanta,” Raymond said. “In Atlanta, the city itself is pretty open, but in the suburbs where we grew up, people didn’t take too kindly with his transition. For him to not be able to go into his own bathroom and for the state as a whole to do this, it has been really devastating for him to not be able to truly be himself.”

Frisbee said the impact of HB2 is negatively affecting Gov. McCrory’s reputation.

“I think the biggest blow to his reputation is not just that he wouldn’t back down on a discriminatory bill, but also that so many people were saying, ‘we don’t want this’ and he didn’t listen to the people of his state.”

An Aug. 10 poll from Public Policy Polling found that 30 percent of voters in North Carolina support HB2 while 43 percent oppose it. Forty-three percent of respondents said McCrory’s handling of the bill makes them less likely to vote for him and 31 percent said it makes them more likely. A majority of voters think the bill is harming the state. Fifty-eight percent think it is hurting compared to 8 percent who think it is helping. When that question was last polled in June, 49 percent thought it was hurting the state.

Mendelsohn said that while she does not vote in North Carolina, she hopes Gov. McCrory will be voted out.

“I do absentee ballots in Maryland, so unfortunately I won’t be voting in North Carolina’s election,” Mendelsohn said. “But I really hope people come to their senses and vote him out of office.”


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Students debate third-party candidates

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published September 20, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

As the two major-party candidates prepare for the first presidential debate, UNC Asheville students consider the role of third-party candidates and express which issues they think should be addressed in the debates.

Gina Garrett, post-baccalaureate environmental studies student, said she wants to see environmental topics discussed.

“As an environmental major, I want to make sure that the EPA and all other environmental protections are covered,” Garrett said. “That’s something I’m worried about if Trump does get elected, that he will do away with a lot of that and try to decrease funding.”

Senior psychology student Kayla Setzer said she would like to see education addressed in the debates.

“Definitely education, both the overall school system and higher education,” Setzer said. “Mainly tuition costs and for the school systems to work on teacher pay and improving curriculums.”

Stella Kimsey-White, junior Spanish and international studies student, said the United States needs to work on systemic problems.

“I would say they should focus a lot more on problems within the United States instead of only looking at foreign policy,” Kimsey-White said. “I think there’s a lot of structural damage that we need to focus on before we can focus on international things. I’m specifically talking about the prison system and poverty.”

Throughout the 21 Democratic and Republican primary debates, only one question specifically regarding poverty was asked by the moderators. That question was directed at Sen. Ted Cruz. Poverty was otherwise only mentioned in passing or in the candidates’ stump speeches.

“That’s ridiculous,” Garrett said. “Even though the environment is important, I think addressing poverty is even more important because people are not going to care about the environment if they’re poor. A lot of my coworkers are barely making enough to put food on the table, to make rent and that’s an issue all across the nation.”

In an ABC News/SSRS Poll, 23 percent of respondents said the presidential debates will have a major impact on who they vote for, 42 percent said the debates will have a minor impact and 35 percent said they will have no impact.

Garrett said the debates will not change her vote.

“The debate isn’t going to sway my vote,” Garrett said. “For most of the people I know, they already know where they stand. They’ve already made up their minds.”

Kimsey-White does not anticipate to be swayed either.

“Ignoring third-party candidates because I don’t think any of them would win, I don’t think any debate could sway my vote at this point,” she said.

Setzer said the debates may sway her vote.

“They might,” Setzer said. “I’m thinking third-party.”

Garrett said third-party candidates deserve a place in the debates.

“Third-party candidates should definitely be in the debates. But sadly with the way that our political system is, unless something dramatic happens, I don’t think they stand a chance,” Garrett said. “We’re so focused on a two-party system and everyone’s so focused on picking two people, that the third one never gets consideration.”

Setzer said the public needs to be informed about third-party candidates’ policies.

“I think third-party candidates should be in the debates,” Setzer said. “If we’re going to elect them as the leaders of our nation, we should know where they stand.”

Third-party candidates are required to have a minimum of 15 percent nationally in select polls before they can participate in the debates. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson currently ranges between 7 and 9 percent and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein ranges between 2 and 4 percent.

On Sept. 13, Johnson announced he will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is the first time since 1996 that a third-party presidential candidate qualified for all 50 state ballots. Stein will be on the ballot in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Garrett said third-party candidates may eventually have better prospects.

“A two-party system is not doing us any good,” Garrett said. “I don’t think it’ll happen with this election, but maybe in subsequent elections if the numbers slowly go up, maybe there is a chance that a third-party candidate could have the chance of winning.”

Kimsey-White said watching the debates was a priority of hers before the major-party candidates were narrowed down.

“I might be watching if I don’t have anything else to do,” Kimsey-White said. “It was a priority up until we were left with the two candidates we have now.”

Garrett said there can be change if enough people take action.

“A lot of people are becoming disenchanted with politics and the way things are being run in this country and I think Bernie running as a significant candidate showed that,” Garrett said. “If enough people get angry and are able to raise their voices enough, hopefully there can be change.”


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Presidential candidates’ lack of transparency worries students

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published September 13, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

UNC Asheville students expressed their concern about the lack of openness to the press from presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“For both candidates to be closing off their media outlets, I think that’s worrying because without openness, it sort of takes away some of their credibility,” said Matthew Wilson, freshman new media student at UNCA.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump began last year to ban certain news organizations from covering his campaign rallies. Among those organizations that were banned are Univision, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post and the Des Moines Register.

It has been 275 days since Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last held a press conference as of Sept. 5. She has held numerous one-on-one interviews.

However, one-on-one interviews and press conferences have significant differences. In interviews, campaigns often control the topics covered, including the interviewer’s questions. Press conferences allow for unpredictability and a wider range of questions.

Mary Bolch, a junior creative writing student, said she does not trust either candidate.

“I think Trump is vying for and advertising this totalitarian kind of regime and that scares me because we’re supposed to be a democracy,” Bolch said. “So I think it’s really worrisome that he’s banned all of those from covering him. As far as Hillary goes, I also think she’s worrisome because in a presidential situation, you can’t control everything that’s going to happen.”

Bolch said presidential nominees should be open to the public.

“I think they should be willing to work with the people and the people’s expectations as far as giving information forth because we need to be informed and they should be willing to work with us on that,” Bolch said.

Blake Hollar, a sophomore political science student, said Clinton’s lack of press conferences indicates her untrustworthiness.

“I’m a pretty liberal guy, but as for Hillary Clinton, I don’t trust her. I think she’s very corrupt,” Hollar said. “The fact that she won’t give a press conference says something about her and how honest she is. If she didn’t have anything to hide, she would go ahead and give a press conference.”

Hollar said presidential candidates should be as transparent as possible.

On Sept. 2, Clinton’s lead press secretary Brian Fallon said if Clinton is elected, she will hold press conferences.

“I feel like she’s using that as an excuse because she doesn’t want people to know things that may or may not get her elected,” Hollar said. “If she’s not willing to do that until she’s president, it’s kind of saying she has something to hide.”

Throughout the election, each campaign has its own travelling press corps reporting on their respective candidate’s day-to-day activities. Trump’s press corps currently does not travel with him on the same plane.

The same was true of Clinton until Sept. 5, when her new campaign plane was unveiled and she began to travel with her press corps. This was also the same day she took questions from those reporters while on the plane, effectively ending her streak of 275 days without a press conference.

Trump appears to be easing his stance toward media access as well. His campaign said on Sept. 7 that it will begin approving requests for press credentials from the news organizations he previously banned from covering his rallies.

Wilson said the press ultimately works to inform the public.

“I think the role of the media and the press is to give the general public information that we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Wilson said.

Bolch said the media is skewed and it should be unbiased in its coverage.

“I think and unfortunately, I think it’s been skewed in this country, that the press is supposed to bring information from government and politics to the people,” Bolch said. “Ideally, for me, it would be unbiased and forthcoming. Donald Trump is right about that, I don’t want to give him credence for anything, but he’s right that the media is skewed. Not what he’s saying it’s skewed for, but it’s a business more than anything.”

Hollar said the press is responsible for holding people accountable.

“The role of the press is to inform the public and to hold people accountable for things they do,” Hollar said. “If we didn’t have the press, you could get away with anything because no one would know about it.”


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Students react to Donald Trump’s pivot in policy

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published September 6, 2016. Digital scan of the issue here.

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By Cody Jones, News Staff Writer

Both UNC Asheville students and alumni responded to the news that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may change his stance on immigration.

Psychology student Andy Stein said he thinks Trump is changing his policy in order to appeal to more voters for the general election.

“Especially now that he’s running for election, he has to do what it takes to get elected,” Stein said.

Trump reiterated over the past year a plan to deport the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

During an interview on Nov. 11, Trump was asked if he was going to have a “massive deportation force.”

“You will have a deportation force and you’ll do it  humanely,” Trump said.

Trump signaled an easing of his plan during a town hall meeting on Aug. 23.

Hannity asked Trump if he would reconsider deportation for immigrants who had not committed any other crime.

“There certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people,” Trump said. “We have some great people in this country, we have some great, great people in this country but we’re going to follow the laws of this country…”

UNCA alumnus Raphael Mendel said Trump is reacting to political pressure.

“I think that he probably will soften his policy just because of political pressure from within his party,” Mendel said. “Right now he’s making statements that sound like he might be softening it, but I think he’s just doing that to get more of the public to vote for him, like many of the independents and people who haven’t decided, or disenchanted Republicans.”

On Aug. 24, the GOP presidential nominee suggested a change regarding his immigration policies will come in the next two weeks.

In addition to the political pressures, Mendel does not think the plan is feasible.

“It’s practically impossible to deport 11 million Mexicans and it’s just so crude and unjust, especially for children that were born here,” Mendel said. “I think there would be so much public outcry, in addition to the political pressure on him. I just don’t think that he would do it or that he could do it, so theres got to be some alternative.”

However, Aisling Power, a senior mathematics and physics student, said whatever Trump’s plan is it ultimately doesn’t matter.

“No matter what plan he makes, I doubt it will be the actual plan that happens,” Power said. “It’s too contingent upon a lot of other things that happen and also probably what he’s feeling in the moment.”

According to the Aug. 23 NBC/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll, 22 percent of Hispanic voters support Trump compared to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 73 percent.

Stein said he would be surprised if Trump wins the election.

“To be honest, I don’t think Donald Trump can get elected,” Stein said. “I’ll be very, very surprised if he does.”

Power said she would most likely vote for Clinton.

Stein is more interested in the aftermath of the election and how Clinton will build trust.

“I’m pretty sure Hillary Clinton is going to be elected, Stein said. “I’m more into how she’s going to work up her reputation after destroying it a little bit.”

In a CBS News poll from June, 62 percent said Clinton is not honest or trustworthy and 33 percent said the opposite. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found 69 percent said they were concerned Clinton has a record of being dishonest.

“So it’s funny how we see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump running for election,” Stein said. “We have a candidate who’s a demagogue and one candidate who is untrustworthy.”
After a week of uncertainty, Trump clarified his immigration policy on Aug. 31 in Phoenix.

“We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration,” Trump said. “We will break the cycle. There will be no amnesty.”

Trump said he would create a “deportation task force” within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and increase the number of ICE agents. He did not commit to deporting the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as he previously had, but instead focused on “criminal aliens.”

“Zero tolerance for criminal aliens,” Trump said. “Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone. And you can call it deported if you want. The press don’t like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want. They’re gone.”

Shortly after Trump’s speech, David Duke, white nationalist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted his support: “Excellent speech by Donald Trump tonight. Deport criminal aliens, end catch and release, enforce immigration laws & America First.”