The Pre-Election Political Climate at FSU
By Justyn Hintze
Unigo Campus Rep at Florida State University, Tallahassee
FSU has always been a politically active, predominantly Democratic campus. Awareness has definitely increased in the months preceding the presidential election. Even the most apathetic students are drawn to watch the debates and follow the race that has already made history. One is unable to walk across campus or into a classroom without being asked by a student or professor if they are registered to vote in Leon County. Everyone has a registration and change of address forms handy, and even pass them out in class. “There is renewed interest in politics. In all my classes we have, at one time or another, discussed the debates or what’s happening. It’s refreshing,” said Jonathan Stellman, an FSU senior Democrat.
Professors aren’t shy about voicing their opinion on who should be the next leader of the U.S. One professor said during class, “Barack Obama, Change—we need his change!” In the F Word, FSU’s friendly feminist group, the conversation turns right back to the elections amidst discussions. Questions such as “Is it anti-feminist to not vote for Sarah Palin when she is the only woman in history to make her way up to that point of power?” and “ How sexist is it to defend Palin just because she is a woman?” are brought up at virtually every meeting.
The Democrats and Republicans have multiple debates a year, and the entirety of the campus is invited through posters, Facebook and word of mouth. Student Senators for Obama help campaign with tailgates and voter registration tables set up daily. They explain that “we're organizing students to register voters, get out the vote, raise funds, and spread Barack Obama's message of hope, action and change.”
While the Democrats make up a larger percentage of the student body, the FSU Republicans are by no means stifled. They are involved in intramurals, community service projects, on-campus debates, tailgates before every Seminole home game and multiple campaigns both on a local and national level. They have meetings each Thursday night with speakers, politicians, and discussions. Concerning the overall democratic climate on campus, Stellman thinks “[They are] represented quite well. There is certainly a balance among parties.”
One independent student, sophomore Kevin Surface, firmly stated, “I think we should vote Nader, and if Ron Paul was his VP…that would be change.” As for McCain, he said that, “If it wasn’t for Palin, McCain would still be on the back burner.” Surface feels that racism is a huge issue in this election, “I actually had someone come up to me and argue that they were not voting for Obama because he would get shot, like that was their innate responsibility to save his life.”
Regardless of what party students are affiliated with, there is a large mix of opinions at Florida State, and the election is a hot topic that certainly overlooked by even the busiest student. The political discussions on campus have and will continue to be unceasing even after the election takes place.