John Jay Community Reacts to Midterms


SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

(Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

With results from the November 8th midterm elections still rolling in almost a week later, and Democrats having a stronger showing than many predicted, John Jay students, staff, and faculty members shared their reactions to how the races went.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Sarah Rosenthal, an adjunct professor in the English Department. “I assumed that there would be a really large red wave and a big backlash to Joe Biden.”

The majority of students interviewed on campus did not vote, with many saying they were too busy to learn enough about the issues and candidates.

There were divided opinions about the election of Democrat Kathy Hochul as New York governor over Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. Hochul campaigned on battling COVID-19, getting illegal guns off of the street and increasing funding to schools. Zeldin emphasized the issue of crime in his campaign.

According to the Associated Press, the incumbent governor won by 52.9%.

Lynnette De La Cruz, a senior at John Jay, said Hochul’s win was good news for CUNY students.

“It’s a sigh of relief for New Yorkers, but I wouldn’t say the same for any of the other states,” said De La Cruz. “If Lee Zeldin came in, the funding for the entire CUNY system would have plummeted basically.”

Freshman, Emelio Gutierrez, said he didn’t vote because he’s a Republican and his vote wouldn’t count in Democrat-leaning New York, but he would have cast his vote for Zeldin.

“I wanted to vote for Lee Zeldin because as a Criminal Justice major, with the aspiration to become a police officer, I agree with his outlook on keeping criminals off the street, furthermore with the idea of getting rid of crime,” he said. “The city is a mess right now.”

Of 13 students interviewed, 10 said they did not vote – two of them because they are international students and one because she had yet to turn 18. The rest talked about the difficulty of learning enough about candidates and issues to properly vote, let alone taking the time to register and actually cast their vote.

“I didn’t register to vote because I have been really busy with school and work so I didn’t have the time to register,” said Kevin Calle, a sophomore. “John Jay tries to encourage students to vote, but recently I haven’t noticed any promotion of the midterm elections.”

Other students were too busy to vote and claim they are not interested in politics.

“I did not vote. At my age I think I don’t know enough about politics, and when it was coming time to vote it was too late to learn what we’re voting for,” said freshman Rae Victor. “I feel like at my age now I don’t know enough about politics to be like I can make this big decision.”

Many students did not vote due to time constraints and busy schedules.

“I didn’t vote because I just didn’t have the time,” said Mariela Lopez, an economics major. “I didn’t look into any politics because I feel this year has felt like such a drag and I just don’t have the time to care about who wins a midterm election.”

It seems most students understand the importance of voting but felt unprepared to make the decision.

“Seeing other students being involved or talking about voting and politics makes me want to get more involved,” said Mia Ramos, a Forensic Psychology major. “It makes me more curious. I wouldn’t want to vote and not know what I’m talking about.”

According to NPR, about 27% of voters between ages 18 and 29 cast a ballot in the midterm election, the second highest turnout among voters under 30 in three decades.

Mariela Cervantes, a sophomore, said she didn’t vote because she wasn’t sure of what was going on. However, Cervantes knew that there was a lot at stake.

Some students talked about the importance of voting and described the issues that matter to them.

“I’m concerned with where I live and how my decision influences the structure of society,” said Luis Ochoa, a senior. “My main concern was the topic of funding the police. I am in the process of getting a job with the police and I figured I am not going to vote for someone who’s going to defund the police and I might not get hired.”

Abortion rights are also an important issue amongst students.

“I only voted to keep abortion rights,” said Erika Pacio, a first-year graduate student. “I struggled to vote for governor because of the rise in crime in New York.”

Students also shared opinions on how they think the country is doing, with some saying they’re concerned about how things are going.

“I believe America is iffy, but there are a lot of benefits of this country when you need them. There is always work, and we have rights and more privileges compared to other countries.”

Contributors: Justin Aponte, Sam Boyce, Angelis Carrero, Chelsea Edwards, Helen Fraticelli, Christina Greene, Xavier Ledesma, Gabrielle Mariduena, Aarzo Noori, Jan Ortiz, Alain Poma, Karla Saenz, Andrea Salamalay