The University of Maryland's first walkout this semester was slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. at McKeldin Library. Almost instantly, students poured in from all areas of the campus and the crowd swelled to 200 as participants — many dressed in black and holding poster board signs — stood together in solidarity.

"Stand up! Walk out! Come on down, protect this house!" they chanted as more students packed in.

The walkout was a show of support for minorities and students who feel vulnerable due to recent hate crimes and political rhetoric, said junior sociology major Ashley Vasquez. It was organized by various student leaders and members of cultural and activist groups, which recently formed the Protect UMD Coalition.

Vasquez led the opening moments of the rally. Standing atop McKeldin's Testudo sculpture, she declared that the protest was not anti-Donald Trump or pro-Hillary Clinton, but rather a movement to back fellow Terps who may feel discriminated against in light of hate crimes and backlash against marginalized communities following last week's election. Chants ranged  from "Black Lives Matter" to "No Hate. No Fear. Immigrants are welcome here."

As the sea of students, professors and community members marched from McKeldin toward the Administration Building, sophomore Kian Kelley-Chung held his fist high in the air.

"I came out because there's a lot of problems going on — not just on campus — but in the world," the English major said. "We're not just going to let bullshit happen. This shows we're not standing for it."

A university spokeswoman wrote in an email Thursday that the university supports the rights of its students and the campus community "to assemble and advocate."

"We stand with students on the stated goal of protecting all members of our community, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to unity, inclusion, safety and respect for the dignity of all persons," she wrote.

Although students and professors declared the rally was not a political protest, for some, ties to the election and Trump's future presidency could not be overlooked. Senior Urooj Fatima said as a Muslim woman, recent events and the culture of Islamophobia have made her feel unsafe and pushed her to attend the walkout.

"All these minority groups … might not be evident danger, but there's more hate out there than we thought and I feel like that's been brought about by the election," the public health and community health major said.

Freshman education major Josephine Vallejo discussed an instance of racial harassment she experienced the day after the election while getting her bike outside the Biology-Psychology building, when another student had told her, "See you at the deportation office" and, "Get out of my country."

By 2 p.m. the crowd had expanded to several hundred as it ebbed along Regents Drive and turned toward Hornbake Library. At the Frederick Douglass statue, students gathered to hear classmates and professors spread messages of hope and bravery.

One Latina student took the megaphone to say she was scared to go to class because of her undocumented status. She ended her speech to the cheers of the crowd.

"I am undocumented. I am unapologetic. I am unafraid. And I will always be an undocumented Terp," she said.

Because of the deeply packed crowd, many students had trouble hearing the speakers' requests, anecdotes and writing, but they stayed anyway, cheering and raising fists to show support. Senior journalism major Lauryn Froneberger said she was surprised by the turnout.

"To look around and see all my classmates around here — it was a beautiful thing," she said. "Tears almost came to my eyes because I realized how many people are pledging that they will protect this community."

As a woman of color and the child of an immigrant mother, Froneberger said the walkout also had personal significance.

"We are standing in unity with our classmates and we will protect them against hatred and bigotry and all those things," she said. "That's why I showed up today, because I want to protect them and I want people to protect me as well."

After a little more than an hour, the rally ended and the crowd began to disperse, but not before chanting final mantras in support of campus diversity under the iron likeness of Frederick Douglass and a clear, blue sky.

A university spokeswoman wrote in an email Thursday that the university supports the rights of its students and the campus community "to assemble and advocate."

"We stand with students on the stated goal of protecting all members of our community, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to unity, inclusion, safety and respect for the dignity of all persons," she wrote.

Although students and professors declared the rally was not a political protest, for some, ties to the election and Trump's future presidency could not be overlooked. Senior Urooj Fatima said as a Muslim woman, recent events and the culture of Islamophobia have made her feel unsafe and pushed her to attend the walkout.

"All these minority groups … might not be in evident danger, but there's more hate out there than we thought and I feel like that's been brought about by the election," the public health and community health major said.

Freshman education major Josephine Vallejo discussed an instance of racial harassment she experienced the day after the election. While she was getting her bike outside of the Biology-Psychology building, another student told her, "See you at the deportation office," and, "Get out of my country."

By 2 p.m. the crowd had expanded to several hundred as it ebbed along Regents Drive and turned toward Hornbake Library. At the Frederick Douglass statue, students gathered to hear classmates and professors spread messages of hope and bravery.

One Latina student took the megaphone to say she was scared to go to class because of her undocumented status. She ended her speech to the cheers of the crowd.

"I am undocumented. I am unapologetic. I am unafraid. And I will always be an undocumented Terp," she said.

Because of the deeply packed crowd, many students had trouble hearing the speakers' requests, anecdotes and writing, but they stayed anyway, cheering and raising fists to show support. Senior journalism major Lauryn Froneberger said she was surprised by the turnout.

"To look around and see all my classmates around here — it was a beautiful thing," she said. "Tears almost came to my eyes because I realized how many people are pledging that they will protect this community."

As a woman of color and the daughter of an immigrant mother, Froneberger said the walkout also had personal significance.

"We are standing in unity with our classmates and we will protect them against hatred and bigotry and all those things," she said. "That's why I showed up today, because I want to protect them and I want people to protect me as well."

After a little more than an hour, the rally ended and the crowd began to disperse, but not before chanting final mantras in support of campus diversity under the bronze likeness of Frederick Douglass and a clear, blue sky.