Students react to presidential election results

Students on Sproul Plaza cheer as victory for Obama in Ohio is announced. Victory in Ohio secured enough electoral votes to ensure a win nationally. (Anna Vignet/Senior Staff)
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
Students on Sproul Plaza cheer as victory for Obama in Ohio is announced. Victory in Ohio secured enough electoral votes to ensure a win nationally. (Anna Vignet/Senior Staff)

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While hundreds of students danced in celebration of  President Barack Obama’s re-election to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” on Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, members of the Berkeley College Republicans were huddled around a television in an apartment south of campus.

The site where various campus groups spent weeks pushing students to voice their opinions at the polls through voter registration drives became the site of hundreds of crossed fingers — and then chants of victory — when students took to the plaza for an election result viewing party Tuesday evening.

“It is nerve-racking, but exciting, because it’s the first time I’m able to see the outcome of the things I voted on,” said UC Berkeley junior Kenzie Mittelman from Sproul.

The viewing event, which live-streamed CNN election coverage on a Jumbotron on the steps of Sproul Plaza, was organized by the ASUC and the campus Graduate Assembly.

“Being here makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger,” said UC Berkeley sophomore Jonte Grant.

South of campus, the Berkeley College Republicans held a much smaller viewing party of around 40 students who were hoping for different results. They squeezed into former BCR president Shawn Lewis’ cottage-like apartment, where Mitt Romney posters covered the walls and a bonfire burned outside.

At the beginning of the night, the BCR members were fixated on the television as results poured into a mostly quiet room. Some stood, others sat and all awaited the election results for who would be named the next U.S. president.

The news of Obama’s win sunk in slowly.

“We still need to wait, watch and see,” Lewis said before all of the results for Florida and Ohio had come in.

“(Romney) would’ve been moderate,” said Mia Lincoln, a senior and active member of BCR.  “He would’ve been fair … he was going to be someone that really brought people together.”

Lincoln said she was worried that Obama’s re-election would negatively impact her father, who owns an insurance business.

“He’s really nervous,” Lincoln said. “I’m trying to reassure my dad — my family — that everything is not lost.”

Less than a mile away on Sproul, the jubilation continued more than an hour after the election was called.

“I was jumping up and down with joy,” said UC Berkeley sophomore Roxanne Rohnama. “He deserved to win, and I know that he is going to keep moving America forward.”

But standing on the edge of the plaza’s Ludwig’s Fountain, UC Berkeley junior Samantha Derrick looked less sure.

“I’m more excited about Romney staying out of office than Obama staying in,” Derrick said.

From around the bonfire, BCR members continued to discuss the election and incoming results.

Contact Andrea Guzman, Aly Neumann and Gladys Rosario at [email protected]