Blow-up Bush brings in bashers
August 30, 2004 9:14 AM
The first week of classes have officially ended and the normally foggy and drizzly campus was treated to a heat wave. As student organizations tabled by the Malcolm X plaza, President George W. Bush stood by the quad area and took the hits as they came.
No, not the actual president was at SF State, but a blow up doll at the San Francisco College Democrats table (SFCD) was available to those stressed about adding classes or unhappy with the current administration’s handling of the war in Iraq. With over a dozen tables lined along the neatly trimmed quad, this was an effective tactic used by the newly formed SFCD to attract new possible members.
Michelle Montoya, 18, stopped by the table one morning and was excited to see such a club existed on campus. Montoya is a transplant from Folsom, a city almost two hours away from San Francisco and with a population of 64,000.
“I’m excited because I’m a staunch Democrat,” said Montoya. “Folsom is very conservative and not at all liberal.”
Westly McGaughey, president of the new organization, welcomed comments from Democrats and non-alike. In a neatly pressed white button down top and black tie, McGaughey, 22, fielded various questions those ideas than a 20-inch article,” Kassiola said before the class on Wednesday. “They bring scholarly reading to the topics and I think they approach topics in a different way than journalists.” Academics, he added, are more committed to the process of reasoning and can pursue unpopular ideas, an uncommon thing in journalism.
“There is tremendous interest in this campaign,” said Jules Tygiel, a professor of history at State and the College Democrats faculty advisor, when asked about the student turnout. He, along with his wife, passed out fliers, John Kerry buttons, posters and voter registration forms to students waiting to get into the class.
“This is the most important election of our time and I am motivated [to be here] by how important it is for students to get involved.”
The auditorium filled quickly exceeding the 75 enrolled students. The lecture featured three speakers: Robert Cherny, professor of history; Michael Graham, professor of political science; and Christopher Waldrep, chair and professor of history.
Each speaker discussed a different part of American politics, the Electoral College and the evolution of the presidential campaign, providing insight into how these institutions have impacted the contemporary political landscape.
“I don’t know anything about the election,” said Sarah Oberman, a business major who attended the class. “I don’t know why I want to lean one way or another.” The class, she said, would help make her a better-informed voter though she would have understood more if the lecturers used “elementary terms about what they were explaining.”
The number of students attending the class was an indication of changing attitudes on campus in the last four years.
When asked at the end of the lecture if voting had become obsolete, Waldrep replied, to much laughter, “It was a very common attitude on this campus in 2000 to hear there’s little difference between Republicans and Democrats. I haven’t heard that lately.”
The San Francisco College Democrats, a fledging student organization headed by SF State student Wes McGaughey, encouraged students to register to vote outside the auditorium.
Arriving directly from work in a blue dress shirt and yellow tie, McGaughey passed out information about the College Democrats, hoping to recruit more members and officers.
“If I had time I would have dressed more college student like,” he confessed before recounting the many obstacles he faced in organizing the College Democrats, like surmounting the political apathy of college students and the lack of support from the university administration.
He hopes the organization will change student awareness of political decisions.
He also hadn’t been able to get university permission for the College Democrats to gain non-profit status, making contributions tax deductible.
“People have become disenchanted with politics and I want to present an image that’s cool,” he said about the College Democrats. So far the organization has registered 86 students to vote; 72 of who are registered Democrats.
The lectures will be held every Tuesday night starting at 7:15 p.m. through Dec. 8 in Humanities 133. During Election Day, Nov. 2, the class will be held in Jack Adams Hall for a special election night session featuring live commentary and post-election analysis from faculty
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