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Students rejoice after Obama victory

Adam Glanzman/Daily
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By Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
and Sam Gringlas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 7, 2012

A roaring cheer, emanating from the Diag, echoed throughout Central Campus Tuesday night as students gathered to celebrate the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Four years into a battered presidency, the thunderous outcry was a sigh of relief for many Obama supporters whose hopes for the future were pinned to the president’s precariously narrow electoral success.

Across campus and partisan divides, students gathered in groups large and small to watch the returns from Tuesday’s election. As the night progressed, and Obama’s re-election became more assured, impromptu celebrations and fits of dejection became more common as liberals rejoiced and conservatives faced the imminent reality of another four years of the Democratic president.

Excitement reached a fever pitch after 11 p.m., after most major television networks called the election in favor of Obama. Spontaneously, hundreds of students began to gather on the Diag to celebrate the election, reminiscent of a similar outpouring after the 2008 election.

LSA freshman Sam Whaley, an Obama supporter, said he quickly made his way to the Diag after hearing reports on CNN that Obama would be re-elected. He used the words "happy" and "relieved" to describe the atmosphere in the Diag, where the crowd was rapidly growing.

“Everybody just wanted to be together and be excited," Whaley said. "So we all rushed to the Diag because it's like the heart of Central Campus. It has been a lot of cheering and excitement and some fight songs — 'Hail to the Victors,' patriotic songs, a little bit of everything. Just a lot of happiness.”

Another reveler, LSA freshman Conner Wood, rushed to the Diag to join his peers in what he called a "magnificent victory.”

"It's very community," Wood said. "People are very excited about it, to the point where they're doing handstands and dancing. I've hugged many strangers. It's just been a great, great euphoric moment. I mean, we came so close to disaster."

Regan Moro, a freshman in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said she was elated by the election results, noting she is a supporter of Obama's policies on social issues and came to the Diag to celebrate with other students who share similar views.

"I didn't think that Romney would win, but I was a little bit nervous about it because I know the last four years haven't been the easiest," Moro said. "I think we're all brought to the Diag for a sense of community. I really feel a part of the University of Michigan community."

At a small gathering of about a dozen members of the University’s chapter of College Democrats early in the evening, LSA senior Lauren Coffman, the communications director of the group, said she believes Obama resonates for many young people around the nation.

“I think that (Obama) really embodies the American dream,” LSA junior Lauren Coffman, communications director for the College Democrats, said. “I mean, he came from a single parent household, from a family that didn't necessarily have a lot of money, and he has inspired the country through his speeches and through his story.”

Speaking at the Michigan Democratic Party’s election center in Detroit, LSA junior Alexandra Brill, chair of the University’s College Democrats, said she was proud of the work that the group had done leading up to Election Day.

“We worked really hard both with the top of the ticket and with local candidates that were victorious,” Brill said in an interview.

At a muted affair early in the evening, about 30 members of the University’s College Republicans gathered at the Michigan Union to watch election analysis and early returns from the first-reporting states. Though many members remained optimistic for a Mitt Romney victory, some quietly conceding the race was a long shot for the former Massachusetts governor.