Students react to controversy over a possible Trump impeachment

By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer, Video by Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter

With scandal swirling around the White House and the specter of impeachment looming large, what do students think about impeaching President Donald Trump?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally announced the Democrat-led House of Representative’s intent to begin a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump Sept. 24. The announcement came in the wake of allegations that Trump used his position to try to force the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. An informal survey of 50 Baylor students revealed few supported the action.

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Of the 50 students, the Lariat surveyed, 24 rejected the idea of impeachment, 14 supported impeachment and 12 were neutral or unsure. Lufkin senior Sutton Lowe said he opposes impeaching Trump; he believes there are more important problems Congress should focus on.

“There’s more important things to be taken care of right now and I don’t think this could get past the House of Representatives,” Lowe said. “I think it’s kind of a waste of time.”

Others were more open to impeachment. San Antonio freshman Henry Barajas said he welcomed the impeachment debate.

“People voicing their opinions about why he should be impeached is something that’s important,” Barajas said. “In the past we’ve had impeached presidents and they’ve had validated reasons.”

Of the students surveyed, few crossed party lines on the subject of impeachment. Only three of the 22 students who identified as Republican supported impeachment while three of the nine Democrats opposed it. Fort Worth junior Meredith Pratt said she saw the fight over impeachment playing out along similar party lines in Congress.

“Democrats in the house are really in control so they’re kind of shredding [Trump] right now,” Pratt said. “It’s going to go to the Senate [if the House votes to impeach Trump] and I feel like they’re going to go a bit easier on him since it’s Republican-heavy right now.”

Seventeen students did not identify with a party, with seven opposing impeachment, six supporting it and six unsure.

Students who considered themselves up-to-date on current events and politics were more likely to take a strong position. Nine of the 12 students who said they were unsure of their stance on impeachment said they did not feel well-informed on the issue. In contrast, 20 of the 24 who opposed impeachment and 11 of the 14 who supported it considered themselves somewhat-informed or well-informed.

Tyler senior Charlie Short said he considered himself insufficiently informed to take a firm stance.

“I would say I’m definitely not informed. I’m kind of busy; I’m a college student [and] don’t have a lot of time to read up on stuff,” Short said. “I really don’t … trust major news outlets.”

Lubbock junior Barbara Ruth Vinson also said she felt too uninformed to say for sure if she supported or opposed impeachment.

“I’m not informed or educated enough to even say,” Vinson said. “I wouldn’t say that students like to talk about it a lot. Some people are obviously more passionate about it than others, but in a day-to-day conversation with anyone, I wouldn’t say that politics usually come up.”

Danville, Calif., freshman Clay Jeha said he considered himself well-informed and that he did not support impeachment. Jeha said he made an effort to get news from impartial sources.

“I will look at news apps such as Reuters; I try to find ones that are more moderate that will give me only the facts and less of their opinions,” Jeha said.