SF State rejoices at Biden, Harris win

After a four-day wait following Election Day, Democratic Party nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden was officially announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential race on Saturday morning. Following the results, various cities, including San Francisco, erupted with celebrations in the street to signify a time of hope.

At SF State, the grueling week of awaiting election results was nerve-racking for much of the campus community. With Saturday’s results, however, students, faculty and administrators alike celebrated the news  and optimistically look toward the future of the Biden presidency.

SF State President Lynn Mahoney said Biden’s win hopefully means student groups that have felt ostracized by the Trump administration over the last four years will feel welcome again.

“I would love to see my international students feel that the U.S. is a place that welcomes them,” Mahoney said. “I would love to see the DACA program restored. I’d love to see it expanded and I would love to see our undocumented students have a path to citizenship,” Mahoney said.

According to Biden’s plan, the new president elect has stated that in the first 100 days, his administration will reinstate the DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as children and have stayed in school or enlisted in the military.

In June, sitting President Donald Trump suffered a defeat in the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 to maintain the DACA program, citing the Trump administration’s failure to “provide a reasoned explanation for its action.” Following the decision, the administration stopped accepting new applications and cut renewal terms from two years to one in July.

Biden’s win made history with the addition of former San Francisco district attorney and Senator Kamala Harris to the ticket. In January, Harris will officially become the first female and person of color to be vice president. Harris addressed the nation on Saturday evening and said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

“I’m a university president in the Bay Area. How can I not be excited about Kamala Harris, right? I mean Californian, a woman, a South Asian child of immigrants. I mean, she’s like the CSU story, so you can’t not be excited.””

— SF State President Lynn Mahoney

“I’m a university president in the Bay Area. How can I not be excited about Kamala Harris, right? I mean Californian, a woman, a South Asian child of immigrants. I mean, she’s like the CSU story, so you can’t not be excited,” Mahoney said.

For Alondra Esquivel Garcia, Associated Students VP of facilities and services, Harris’ addition to the Biden administration gives more hope to young women like her who are involved with student government, and that any important role can be fulfilled by females.

“I’m so glad that we got Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the United States because that’s going to show other young women and young girls that they can be in those types of positions,” said Garcia.

Garcia also expressed frustration with the delay in results but appreciated that each vote was getting counted, and that there wasn’t a rush to deliver information, in the event that it may be false or altered with Trump’s repeated statements about voter fraud. She said she was doubtful of Biden’s chance to win as initial results began to unfold throughout election night.

“I was like … we might have Trump again for the next four years,” Garcia said. “I’m glad that they counted the votes…  I mean, they really let the process flow. I’m really shocked.” 

Biden’s victory also brings a sense of accountability to which Garcia feels people will hold the new president. She expressed how Biden was not her top pick during the primaries but does believe that Biden will listen, try to work with both sides and unify the U.S. 

“I’ve been seeing a lot of tweets and posts from people saying, like, ‘Yeah this is a victory, but we’re still going to have to hold you accountable for the things you said you would do,’” Garcia said.

Anthony Pahnke, international studies professor at SF State, echoed this in saying that there is a difference between having hope in what Biden’s administration does versus what he will actually do. He cited immigration, climate change and policing as some of the issues in need of reform.

He added that while Harris’ White House debut is “important for women, particularly POC, and also youth, to see,” he is more interested in how she will lead as vice president. 

“The country lacks POC in power, both economically and politically. So Harris’ position is important in this regard,” Pahnke said. “It will be even more important if she can take an active leadership role and push for policy changes.”