October 9 2012

Students can only hear Obama speak if they pledge support

Karin Agness

President Obama won the youth vote 2-to-1 in 2008. The University of Wisconsin seems to assume that its students are all in President Obama’s camp this time around. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the University of Wisconsin hosted President Obama in less of an educational atmosphere and more as a campaign cheerleading event. Students could only get tickets to hear the president speak by signing up on the Obama campaign website.

In order to get a ticket for the speech, students were forced to go to Mr. Obama’s campaign website and pledge their support for the president—in the process giving the Obama campaign a gold mine of contact information in a key swing state. The university even provided direct links to the website—free advertising to 40,000 students in one of Mr. Obama’s most important demographics.

While studying at the University of Virginia, I attended an event featuring Michelle Obama. It was free and open to the public, and I did not have to register to attend. I enjoyed listening to what she had to say, and I learned more about her positions and her husband.

It seems odd to me that students have to “pledge their support” for President Obama just to listen to him speak. Shouldn’t we expect college campuses to foster an environment where candidates present their best arguments and then students make informed decisions?

This is a sign that Obama is moving away from making his case to young people and instead assuming tacit support from college students. With students facing such a tough economy, it must be challenging for Obama to argue for his reelection on campus.


(cross-posted at AEIdeas)

(photo credit Crossroads Generation)

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