Thousands of students and North Carolina residents gathered for a rally in the Belk Plaza to see Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, where she urged attendants to vote early late Sunday afternoon.

Before speaking about her many plans as president, Clinton first took aim at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, mentioning in their third and final debate how Trump refused to answer whether he would respect the results of the election or not, calling it a “direct threat to our democracy.”

“Trump is not like anybody else who has ever run for president. He has demonstrated unequivocally that he is unqualified and unfit to be president and commander and chief of the united states of America,” Clinton said.

Attendants cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the rally at Belk Plaza. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Attendants cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the rally at Belk Plaza. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Clinton explained her plan to make public colleges and universities tuition free for families who earn $125,000 or less annually, giving graduates more flexibility to become successful after college and be debt free.

“I consider it an investment in young people, I don’t want people coming out being burdened by debt and having difficulty paying it back,” said Clinton.

She mentioned how she worked on a plan with Senator Bernie Sanders about rewarding people who go into certain public service and national service jobs by alleviating them of most or all of their debt after college. After the primaries, Clinton and Sanders had collaborated on several ideas.

She spoke about several of the other plans she has if she is elected president. She explained how she wants to raise the national minimum wage, create the largest investment in new jobs since World War 2 through infrastructure, high-wage manufacturing and small business, how she wants a new modern electric grid to distribute clean, renewable energy and she wants equal pay for equal women, a policy that she has always been an advocate for.

“If you have a mother, a wife, a daughter or a sister who’s working it’s your issue … it is way past time for women to be paid fairly for the jobs they do,” she said.

Like many supporters, sophomore Keila Nateos believes that Clinton stands for many values that match with hers.

“You can tell that she’s for equality for women, people of color and for every American and just everything she said I agreed with,” said Nateos. “I feel that my values match [the democratic party’s] goals and that’s really the reason why I’m voting.”

Micheal Holbrook is a member of the LGBTQ community and, while he is not a student at UNC Charlotte, he has attended a couple of Clinton’s rallies. He feels that Clinton understand the discrimination that many people face today and oppose laws that would otherwise allow for such behavior.

Clinton meets with supporters during after the rally. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.
Clinton meets with supporters during after the rally. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The more rallies I go to the more I see why I’m supporting her,” Holbrook said. “It’s just an ensuring fact that the woman who I want leading this country, that if one day, if me and my boyfriend are married and we adopt kids … or whatever we do, they look and say ‘you voted for a president who moved forward into a movement that didn’t take us back’.”

Attendants heard from several guest speakers running for positions in local government including Josh Stein, who is running for Attorney General, Linda Coleman, who is running for Lieutenant Governor and UNC Charlotte student Thurston Alexander, who introduced Clinton onto the stage. UNC Charlotte’s Finer Niner a capella group also gave several performances before Clinton came on stage.

Clintons visit to UNC Charlotte and North Carolina is no surprise since North Carolina is considered a battleground state.

Before ending the rally, Clinton gave a final call to action for UNC Charlotte students.

“I am asking you to vote for yourselves as much as I’m asking you to vote for me. I’m asking you to vote for what you care about,” she said.”Please UNC Charlotte, turn out and vote, early vote. Bring your friends, your families. Let’s go out and prove that anything is possible in America,” Clinton said.

Early voting ends Nov. 8. Voting on campus will become available Oct. 27.

Nick Cropper is the News Editor for the Niner Times. Currently, he is a senior pursuing a major in PR and a minor in journalism. Although he has lived in Charlotte for close to four years now, he is originally from Maryland. Contact him at for questions or if you want to pitch a potential story.