PLOT TWIST: Pres Fernandes now supports Trump

Last November, to the chagrin of students, faculty and administrators at Guilford College, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. Now, some are ready to accept and support the commander-in-chief.

“In my blog, I’ve previously voiced concern about the social policies that President Trump wants to enact and how they will affect people from a wide range of marginalized groups and communities,” wrote President Jane Fernandes in an email to the Guilford community on March 24. “But today, I want to say that Guilford College is ready to help the president ‘Make America Great Again.’”

This stunning reversal in policy seems at odds with many political views and programs present across campus.

“This literally makes no sense,” said sophomore Karl Tocqueville. “Why would a Quaker liberal arts college do anything to help Trump? He vehemently stands against Quaker values, liberals, art, colleges and every combination in between.”

Changes have already swept across Guilford.

Since announcing the College’s support for Trump, Fernandes has revoked the press credentials of The Guilfordian and other student-run publications. Not even WQFS can reach out to her and the administration for an interview.

On two occasions, the Office of Admissions has attempted to stop accepting applicants from seven Middle Eastern and North African nations, though both attempts were halted by internal checks and balances. Meanwhile, campus protections for LGBTQIA faculty, staff and students have been erased from College’s nondiscrimination policy statement.

Even Guilford’s woods have been impacted. Lumberers work day and night to cut down trees, and plans are in the works to construct an oil pipeline, a luxury resort and even a golf course.

“Things have gotten rough,” said Diya Abdo, associate professor of English and founder of Every Campus a Refuge. “A liaison agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement just moved into the office across from mine in Archdale (Hall). Every day, he runs raids on student residence halls and staff houses.”

Many wonder what has prompted the bizarre turn of events. At the beginning of the academic year, there was a strong anti-Trump sentiment among administrators.

“Sometimes you just have a change of heart,” said Professor of International Studies Paul Manafort, a recent hire who began teaching after spring break. “Trump is a polarizing guy, but we can all find some common ground with him. Trust me. I’ve worked with some pretty disagreeable people in my line of work.”

Manafort has experience with divisive figures. Aside from being Trump’s former campaign adviser, he has lobbied and consulted for world leaders like Jonas Savimbi, who led a 26-year guerilla war in Angola, and Viktor Yanukovych, a former president of Ukraine ousted in 2014 for his undemocratic and corrupt practices.

Unrelatedly, change has reached Guilford’s checkbook. The endowment received an anonymous ruble-denominated donation equivalent to $5.4 billion, enough to cover the cost of new positions and ventures.

“I am really proud that our humble little school has righted the fiscal ship, so to speak,” said Roman Abramovich, a new member of the board of trustees. “I am, how you say, pleased with this outcome.”

Abramovich is a Russian entrepreneur who sold his oil company Sibneft to Gazprom in 2005 for $13.1 billion and who currently owns Chelsea Football Club. He is joined by two other new trustees: Oleg Deripaska, a Russian mineral magnate, and Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica.

Despite the bewilderment, Fernandes hopes the 180-degree pivot and new talent will help mend broken bonds between Americans.

“We can’t let subtle policy disagreements like ‘who has a right to healthcare’ or ‘what constitutes a conflict of interest’ dictate whether our community supports the president of our nation,” wrote Fernandes in the same email. “Trump deserves our solidarity and trust. Guilford will be a place where he can find just that.”