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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Where's PAC?

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, October 8, 2004

Who needs more politics this time of year? With less than a month before students head off to the polls to cast their votes or mail in their absentee ballots, the political season has reached its fevered pitch. It is easy to grow weary of the campaigning onslaught. You cant go to a meal without seeing a campus group at a table outside the Caf urging their peers to register to vote. You cant walk down your corridor without reading dozens of political signs posted on your neighbors doors. You cant waltz into the Pause on a typical Thursday night to order pizza and not notice that the standing room-only crowd is intently watching a presidential debate.

Partisan political groups have driven political events on campus this year. Both the College Republicans and the College Democrats are campaigning for new voters, chalking for meetings (which are incidentally held at competing times) and holding debate-watching parties. It is great to see our peers engaged in politics, believing passionately in issues and candidates and encouraging others to join them. All of these efforts should be applauded.

But with the majority of students on campus classifying themselves as Independents or Undecideds, it would be nice for students to be able to turn to a group whose name does not end with the word Democrat or Republican. In the past, we have come to expect the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) to fill this void. Whether it was with events like weekly and monthly dinners in Valhalla where speakers discussed hot-button issues and local candidates came to talk with students, or with high-profile speakers that drew large campus and community crowds to Boe Chapel, we have always counted on PAC to bring us balanced political discussions.

However, a month into the school year, undecided voters are still looking for PAC to provide this type of leadership. Other than organizing a last minute debate-watching party in the Pause last Thursday (only after both major political groups on campus had organized their own) and hosting an unadvertised dinner featuring Democratic U.S. Congress candidate Teresa Daly Tuesday evening, PAC has had little presence in student affairs.

Last year, PAC formed a Get Political alias for students desiring to stay informed on political issues. Throughout second semester, students on this alias received regular updates on different political happenings on campus. This year, no such e-mails have flooded students inboxes. It is no surprise then that few students knew about the Nobel Laureate, Peter Agre, who spoke on campus last week about science policy and the 2004 election. And even fewer students knew that the event was co-sponsored by PAC.

Frustration remains for those students who find themselves outside the two major political groups on campus. These undecided voters just want straightforward, unbiased information so that they can make up their minds. It is about time PAC started to provide it.

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