Operating out of a freshman dorm room in Temple University’s White Hall is Redline, a student organization whose purpose is to bring nationally prominent individuals to speak on the University’s campus.
President David Ross co-founded the organization with a high-school friend, Tejas Muster, from his hometown of Silver Springs, Md.
The name of the organization is a reference to the Metro line that Ross used to commute between his home town and Washington, D.C.
When Ross, a film and media arts major, came to Temple this past fall, he brought the idea of Redline with him, and introduced the concept to his roommate and several friends.
After Ross filed the appropriate papers, Redline became an official organization recognized by Temple.
“Like any other process, it involved a lot of paperwork…I felt like I was exposed to working with a mini-business,” Ross said of his efforts to make Redline official.
Ross said that the organization was founded because he saw the need for more political speaking engagements on campus.
“There’s a bunch of issues that need [to be] addressed, from HIV treatment to abortion issues, said Ross.
“All the places that Temple doesn’t want to tread, I’ll go there.”
He added that Redline wants to highlight “the topics that people tend to run from.”
Redline is primarily run by Ross, Wes Godbolt and Kyle Kelly, who serve as vice-presidents, and Gary Grossett and Marquis Washington, who help with media contacts and press releases.
The meetings for Redline, which Ross calls “informal,” take place in his dorm bedroom.
It was during one of these bedroom meetings that the idea of bringing a series of 2004 Presidential candidates to speak at Temple was formed.
Last Thursday, their efforts were to come to fruition, when Reverend Al Sharpton planned to visit Temple, kicking off Redline’s series of candidate speakers.
However, because of the attacks on Iraq, Sharpton cancelled all his travel plans and was unable to speak at Temple.
The planned visit was a “gift” that came from Ross’s internship with a lobbying enterprise.
Ross’s boss used his network to get in touch with Sharpton.
“He [Sharpton] is the most interesting candidate – he will fill seats.
I want to give him a chance to refute all the negatives that come with just the name ‘Al Sharpton,'” said Ross.
Although Sharpton’s planned visit was free of charge, Temple’s African American Department, Pan-African Studies Educational Program, Political Science Department and Main Campus Program Board all contributed money to Redline.
These funds are used primarily to secure the venues in which Redline guests will speak.
“I just had no idea that venues cost that much,” said Ross.
According to Ross, Redline has made contact with other potential candidates who they hope to bring to Temple.
In particular, Redline has had correspondence with Sen. John Edwards (D, N.C.).
To those who are interested in joining Redline or learning more about the organization, Ross said that the group will soon release information.
“We’ll definitely be expanding, because the help is needed,” said Ross.
“The workload is crazy.”Nnenna Okoro and Alix Gerz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.