Pre-Election Climate at Traditionally Liberal UCSC
BY Tierney Elizabeth Werner
Unigo Campus Rep at UCSC
Needless to say, there is an enormous amount of excitement in the air about the upcoming elections in Santa Cruz. As a campus that has been dubbed one of the most liberal colleges by staunch conservatives such as David Horowitz and the like, it seems only fitting that we should live up to our name – it is universally agreed upon by all of Santa Cruz that Obama must win. As for the general consensus on the republican candidates, the name McCain is only uttered with disdain, and Sarah Palin’s anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and anti-gay marriage beliefs are considered to be not only offensive, but extremely conflicting with the strong feminist current found here.
The excitement over Obama began last year when Obama bumper stickers, flyers and signs began popping up all over campus and in the town. As freshmen moved in this year, the amount of Obama signs and posters that have been stuck in windows and posted on doors has increased tenfold. Not only are student showing their support through signs and posters, but many of them have gotten involved with the Obama campaign, whether on a local or national level. Some of the students are even taking off fall quarter to further their work with the national campaign, traveling all over the country to spread awareness. While the local Obama chapter in Santa Cruz in not quite as far reaching as the national campaign, they have been extremely instrumental in registering voters, organizing students, and spreading awareness.
Victor Sanchez, Student Body Internal Vice President and active member of the Young Democrats on Campus has been working on campus all summer with other elected officials to make sure that the major issues are heard. “Right now, group membership is our main priority. We want students informed, and we work closely with the Get out the Vote campaign, to make sure that all students have the right to have their voices heard,” says Sanchez. “One of SUA’s biggest challenges this year is going to be surrounding the diversity crisis, and making sure that students of color have the same right and privileges as everyone else. Voting is such a crucial part of any campaign, and we want to make sure that our campus is heard, and represented equally.”
The College Democrats recently screened the Presidential Debate is the Stevenson Apartment Community Room. “As for both organizations, we are all about progressive change. We want what is best for not only the members of this campus, but the members of this wide-range community. We are not here to push ideas on people, we really want to hear what everyone thinks would be best for Santa Cruz, and the United States as a whole.” The College Republicans did not return requests for an interview.
Lauren Foliart, writer for City on a Hill Press, said that right now, the election is the utmost priority for the newspaper. “We make it easy for students to read about these issues in a fun way. For example, our next article is titled ‘Who could run the United States better than Sarah Palin,” said Foliart. “It gets the students involved, and really could be taken in a serious manner or a funny manner. We Like to get students thinking about these issues on their level. “
Santa Cruz is an extremely politically organized campus. Our activist roots are strong, and we are extremely opinionated. While prospective students who lean to the right shouldn’t completely rule out the college, it is essential to keep an open mind in order to succeed in such a headstrong environment.