Sep

3

For Obama-McCain Forum, Student Councils Demand Fair Lottery, Jumbotron

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Well, they moved quickly this time. As we wrote about before, the announcement of a joint appearance by Obama and McCain on campus next Thursday took student government and group leaders completely by surprise.

Just before midnight, though, the presidents of the student councils, club governing boards, and Panhellenic councils have sent an email to President Lee Bollinger, as well as fellow administrators interim Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger, Executive Vice President for Student Services Jeffrey Scott, and Housing & Dining Vice President Scott Wright.

The email asks for two accomodations: “a fair share of the tickets made available are apportioned to undergraduates” and “arrangements, similar to those made for the Ahmadinejad visit, should be made for all students, including but not limited to the installation of a large screen on South Lawn.” In other words, “make sure everyone gets an equal chance at tickets, and give us another jumbotron.” The full letter will be printed in Thursday’s Spectator, but you can save yourself from waiting outside a residence hall until noon and just read it below the fold.

We are writing you in regards to the recent announcement that both Senator Obama and Senator McCain will be speaking at Columbia on September 11th.  As leaders from the student councils and governing boards, we are representatives of the undergraduate student population of Columbia University and want to make sure that undergraduates are being represented fairly at this event. We write to ensure that the lottery system is not favoring any one group of students over another. It is important that a fair share of the tickets made available are apportioned to undergraduates.

Considering the importance of service to our community that this event seeks to highlight, both on a national scale and at Columbia, it is vitally important that the many undergraduates who will not have access to the event be able to participate in the dialogue that this event will encourage. Arrangements, similar to those made for the Ahmadinejad visit, should be made for all students, including but not limited to the installation of a large screen on South Lawn. Students have shown a tremendous interest in hearing what each presidential candidate has to say, and we feel that this is the best way to reach the largest proportion of the undergraduate population. Moreover, we feel that it is important for Columbia to remain an open forum for political and social discourse and the large screen will allow access for a greater number of students to participate and further a more meaningful discussion on campus.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance in the planning of this event, as we would be happy to meet with you about the event.  We are grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience and look forward to the event.

Sincerely,

Peter Valeiras

President, Engineering Student Council

Sarah Besnoff

President, Barnard College Student Government Association

Brody Berg

President, General Studies Student Council

George Krebs

President, Columbia College Student Body

Monica Quaintance

University Senator for Columbia College

Arjun Kapoor

Chair, Student Governing Board

Samantha John

President, Activities Board at Columbia

Grace Chan

Vice-President, Activities Board at Columbia

Donna Desilus

President, Multicultural Greek Council

Giselle Gastelle

President, Panhellenic Council

Matthew Heiman

President, Inter-Fraternity Council

Bryant Rolfe

President, Club Sports Governing Board

The Community Impact Student Executive Board

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5 Comments

  1. yeah  

    and I don't think that is how you spell "valeiras"

  2. yeah2  

    he/she has a point.

  3. well

    I'd be happy if half the tickets were given away fairly. It'd be great if they all were, but that's just not how these kind of things work, even if the administration wants to give them away fairly. Good chance for the jumbotron though.

  4. Bwog...  

    There is only one Panhellenic president. What you meant to say was 3 Greek body presidents. Panhellenic refers to only sororities

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