Case Kids and Politics - The Importance of Keeping the Campus Informed

Case Western Students

By Youngmin Park

By Youngmin Park
Unigo Campus Rep at Case Western Reserve University

Under the infamous academic load of Case Western Reserve University, there is a quiet consensus within the student body that Case students are by and large liberal. In lecture halls, on building walls, on doors and windows, “Vote for Obama” stickers are visible everywhere. With the upcoming elections it is hard to walk the daily mile from dorm room to classes without overhearing two or more students deeply engaged in conversation about Obama and McCain. Along the way voter registration stations are visible on a daily basis operated by people who constantly ask, “are you registered to vote?” It is difficult to find anyone who either does not support Obama or is not liberal. After over a month at Case, new students can find on average just one conservative among hundreds of  liberals who generally support Obama. In an inadvertent show of political awareness, almost every residence hall with a working television on Thursday October 2nd was full of students eager to watch the Vice Presidential debate. Aside from voting, it seems as though this is all students can do to participate in political matters without sacrificing their study time.

Currently, the Case Democrats are the most active group on campus and are using their extra manpower to make a difference in how the campus votes this year. According to Case Democrats Treasurer Kelli Herrick there are approximately forty people who volunteer on a regular basis. She says that because of the upcoming elections, “More than half the [Case Democrats] meetings consist of freshmen and new faces.” The Case Democrats run multiple events including canvassing, phone banking and weekly meetings. Their biggest event is Dinner with the Democrats where once a year the Case Democrats invite well-known Democrats to talk as the keynote speaker. Previous speakers include Senatorial Candidate Sherrod Brown, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party Susan Turnbull, and former White House and State Department advisor John Prendergast. This year's guest is to be announced.

When asked what political concerns the Case Democrats are most focused on this year, Kelli's response was very direct. “Right now it's just getting the Republicans out of the white house. I really think that's the only concern,” she said. “I have found at least on campus it's not really an issue-based campaign this year. We can't have another person who's going to do the exact same thing so it's really polarized that way. People are talking about the economy and the war and I would say those are the only two issues and as for abortion and environment – those are side issues compared to getting somebody new in the White House.”  On the first weekend of October, the Case Democrats will be taking people out to the polls for early voting as part of an effort to get people involved.

Politics is a major concern in other organizations as well.  The RHA (Residence Hall Association) President Gace Bell discussed her plans of action for this election year. “For my organization, we brought in a speaker to talk about voting. It is not smart, as a large campus organization, to show bias toward republican or democrat because you will alienate some of your audience,” said Bell. “However, my organization believes that it is imperative to get the students to know their voting rights in Ohio and their home state. Under that ideal, we brought in a speaker from the campus group who was working on registering students to vote and busing students to the polls downtown during early vote times. It was very successful and the students asked a myriad of good questions.”

Another organization involved in political concerns is Case Western’s weekly paper, The Observer.  The staff has been keeping students up-to-date on politics the past month with articles such as, “Did You Remember to Register to Vote?” by Sultan Ahmed, and “A vice-presidential profile: the other half of the ticket.” Case Western’s campus  is definitely politically charged this semester, and it’s hard for even the most apathetic students to ignore the fervor surrounding the upcoming election.