When registering to vote this year, students were encouraged to align themselves as conservative, liberal, or none of the above. But recently, voter involvement drives have taken a turn for the partisan – and Temple has supported this move implicitly with a funding choice which isolates students who support President Bush.
When MoveOn PAC and Citizen Change, among other groups, got started months ago, the push was simply toward voter registration. Students were signed up, given materials about the political process, and encouraged to use their voices.
But since the Oct. 4 Pennsylvania registration deadline passed nearly a month ago, these organizations and others have taken to active campaigning, often with a liberal or specifically Democratic bent. Such is the case with P. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign.
Now, partisanship is fine. A democracy depends on differing opinions fighting to make their beliefs heard and understood. But when a major national – and it should be said, public – university such as Temple endorses a particular partisan campaign by funding its presence at a major campus-wide rally, a line has been crossed.
Extending a warm welcome to filmmaker Michael Moore, and more recently, funding P. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” tour is a disturbing trend in campus activity. The money for the allegedly non-partisan and non-profit “Vote or Die” event, which featured opening acts blaring obscenities at the current administration, was paid for by money directly from students and their parents – tuition money, in the form of Temple Student Government’s Main Campus Program Board and their University-sponsored funding.
Simply put, Temple’s tuition increases have yielded a polarization of campus events, and conservative students are being left in the cold.
In an election season so serious, during a race so close, Temple’s decision to fund partisan entertainment under the guise of a voter-mobilization activity is flat-out wrong. Dealing with a generation that has found itself until very recently largely disgusted by the “dirtiness” of politics – a generation marked by its preference for not voting over participating in the money-greased, elitist political game – in this manner is unacceptable.
Perhaps the tenacity of P. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” slogan is accurate, but the bottom line is that all voters, whether conservative, liberal, or planning to write in Donald Duck, have an equal right to “vote or die” and participate in the election process.
No political donor gives its hard-earned money to a group it does not support, particularly not a college student more concerned with affording a Ramen dinner. So by spending tuition money – students’ money – on partisan political events, Temple has dismally let down those who fund the university itself, whether they align themselves as conservative, liberal, or none of the above.