HPU students react to upcoming Donald Trump visit

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Donald Trump will hold a rally at the Millis Center on High Point University's campus Tuesday. It starts at noon and the doors open at 10 a.m.

"This has sparked such a debate amongst the students that it's been really awesome to see," says Julia Fiedler, a sophomore at HPU. That debate is not over Trump's economic plan or his views on immigration. Instead, it's about whether he should even be allowed on campus.

"I'm a little disappointed in High Point University for allowing him to be here because I think of this environment as one that promotes diversity of one that includes all types of ideas," said senior Elizabeth Reichart.

Some students say Trump's tendency to insult others does not align with HPU values, and for that reason, the school should have turned his request to appear on campus down.

"This is not somebody that has the same ideology that our campus has, which is an inspiring environment with caring people and just don't feel that Trump holds true to that," said student Joshua Caudle.

Caudle and others are planning a protest on campus to show their displeasure that Trump is on the school's property and to highlight their support of all people and viewpoints.

"We could either walk away silently and that be more damaging than us speaking up, but now that he's come it's actually a great opportunity for us to exercise our voice," Caudle said.

But not every student thinks the candidate's visit is so bad. Fiedler went to the Republican National Convention as part of an internship. She says any kind of political visitor that helps begin conversations about the democratic process is a good thing. She also said those planning on protesting should think about the other side.

"I think that it's important for them to understand where people who disagree with them come from and the only way to do that is by attending these kind of opportunities," Fiedler said.

High Point University said in an email statement, "When HPU hosts a speaker on campus, it is not an endorsement. Rather, it is an opportunity for students to engage in the democratic process and gain knowledge and information that allows them to make independent and informed decisions..."

The school also said it would accept requests from other candidates to appear on campus as well.

But Reichart said she is not totally convinced.

"I think it's good public relations for High Point University but I think it's hollow; I don't think that it will resonate with the kind of change that this university wants to inspire," Reichart said.

The Student Diversity Council is holding the protest at David Hayworth Park from 10 a.m. to noon.