The 2016 presidential election. OK, get ready, here comes the political rant worthy of being my Facebook status.

Just kidding.

I am not trying to get fired and thus I have prepared for you a hopefully more mild and informative way to talk about this divisive event. I asked several students to write an anonymous paragraph explaining why they voted (or abstained) the way they did during this controversial election. I can’t tell you who wrote these statements, we have a secret ballot in this country for a reason, but I can promise you that they come from a wide array of majors, ages, genders and backgrounds.

Regardless of the way you voted, it is important to recognize and try and respect the way students of the U voted. Below are the testaments of several students explaining their positions, and I personally believe it’s worth the read.

This election season, I chose to vote for Hillary Clinton. Not only did Clinton more accurately represent my political, social and civil views — wage equality for women and other minorities, increased access to higher education, increased difficulty in owning and securing guns — but I believe that Donald Trump is incredibly unqualified to hold the office of president. I believe that a president needs to possess impartiality and compassion for all types of people, and Trump’s frequent and repeated rhetoric and policy regarding women and minorities displays that he only possesses compassion for white males — he does not represent the American people as a whole. ~Anonymous Student – Voted for Clinton

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Unfortunately, the first presidential election that I was allowed to vote in seemed to be the most controversial in history. I felt as if I had to choose the lesser of two evils to protect our great nation, and honestly that scared me. Up until about two weeks before the election I hadn’t decided if I was going to vote, but then I remembered that not everyone was fortunate to have this right, so I made my decision. I decided that I was not going to vote for a specific candidate, but that I would vote for the party that would protect our Constitution. I voted Republican for each position in Congress, so, in the end, I voted for Donald Trump. I believe that the Republican party will help lower our national debt, keep businesses in the states that generate jobs, and protect our constitutional rights. It was a difficult decision because being a ballerina, I’m definitely socially liberal, but the economy worried me slightly more than those social issues. I truly wanted change, and I did not believe Hillary Clinton would make any that were substantial. I have so much respect for middle-class America, and I thought it was time for them to be heard. ~ Anonymous Student – Voted for Trump

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I made a personal decision not to vote in this year’s election. This was not because I “don’t care” or “politics aren’t my thing,” but because I was (and still am) incredibly dissatisfied with both candidates and would have been equally unhappy with either in office. I cannot wait for the day a woman is elected the president of the United States, but I did not want that history-making title to go to someone as corrupt and immoral as Hillary Clinton. Although I agree with some of Donald Trump’s policies, his immature behavior and disrespectful tendencies are not those of someone who is fit to lead the free world. I’ll admit, I feel somewhat ashamed of the fact that I neglected to exercise my right that I know so many people fought and died for. However, under this election’s circumstance, neither candidate (with an actual chance of winning) deserved my vote. ~Anonymous Student – Didn’t Vote

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I voted for Hillary Clinton because I am a believer in equality, progress and human dignity, and I believed that she would best uphold these values. Hillary Clinton was the unquestionably the most qualified and knowledgeable candidate, touting more than 30 years of significant political and legal experience in which she fought for positive, progressive change. She also promoted a platform, which I predominantly support, especially in regards to addressing income inequality, Wall Street reform, combating climate change, and encouraging prison reform. I do have to acknowledge that I also voted for her (Hillary Clinton) because I was against Donald Trump. I voted for her because I am against bigotry, hate, racism, sexism and xenophobia. The president should be a role model to the country’s citizens, youth, and to the world; behavior that promotes violence and division, brags about sexual assault, and mocks people with disabilities is the last thing I want this nation’s youth, or any nation’s youth, to model. Not only did I believe that Donald Trump lacked the character and diplomatic temperament to be president, I also believed the lacked he necessary political wisdom and global knowledge that any government leader should possess. ~Anonymous Student – Voted for Clinton

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Disclaimer: it is difficult to exhaustively but concisely explain why I voted for Donald Trump – nevertheless, here are some of the most appealing aspects of his candidacy to me. 1) Economic Improvement: Trump has vowed to fight for free trade and to focus economic efforts on domestic affairs – keeping jobs stateside and a “no-nonsense” attitude toward foreign obstacles to American Economy that have been allowed historically in the name of foreign diplomacy. 2) Capitol Hill Cleanup: many Americans are fed up with the self-serving political system and Trump has vowed to drain the proverbial “swamp” in Washington. Two examples of this – a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on congress members and heavily regulating lobbyists. 3) Cultural Change: over the last eight years, in an effort to propagate the liberal progressives’ definition of “freedom,” conventional rights that define true freedom have been lost at the expense of conservatives and even moderate liberals. One minute example: political correctness has pandemically plagued our nation insomuch that our First Amendment rights to true freedom of speech are virtually nonexistent – we have to watch what we say…Trump’s proposed First Amendment Defense Act is a return to what has allowed our country to thrive since the First Amendment was adopted in 1791 – the freedom to express oneself. While it is true a small number of individuals may exercise this right in poor judgment to hurt or demean others, FADA and a curb to political correctness does NOT equate racism, bigotry, anti-tolerance, sexism, or whatever else the liberal media has programmed us to instinctively conjure up in our minds; it is a protection to a long-lived but forgotten inalienable right. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall famously said, “I [may] not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” ~Anonymous Student – Voted for Trump

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As a moderate conservative Republican, I struggled with the election. I’m a strong believer in social change, and support just causes such as marriage rights. However, I’m very logical when it comes to economic change and policy. I’m a strong believer in finding a middle ground, yet still having a strong stance to uphold personal morals. I did not find either major party candidate to support middle-ground logical policies, and that is why I cast my vote for Evan McMullin. I knew either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would win, but I refused to support (and be responsible) for the election result. However, I am not upset at the result of the election. In fact, I think it will bring much change to our stagnant government. I’d rather have something get done, rather than a dead-locked Washington. Although social change may be compromised over the next four years, I believe that we can all accept temporary oppression for the sake of saving our country from economic disaster. I know this is difficult to accept, but many times social change is unsustainable. One day I believe we will have a president that unites the country outside of a two-party system. ~Anonymous Student – Voted for McMullin

Honestly, that wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Whether or not you voted for Donald, Hillary, Evan or Harambe (more than 15,000 people did) it’s important to understand the opinions of others — even, and probably especially, if you don’t agree with them. These quotes might not embody how you voted, but they do embody how U voted.