Political Issues at Colorado State University


By Melissa Shock
Unigo Campus Rep at CSU
Nov. 1, 2008

This is the most intense week of the entire year. A new president will be elected in a matter of days. You cannot walk more than a foot on Colorado State’s campus without being bombarded by activist groups, last minute local speakers and volunteers screaming for students to vote early.

The political buzz is at an all time high and students couldn’t be paid to shut up about their opinions. There are quite a few local and national issues that are hot topics right now.

For the past month, Kelly Retzlaff has thought about how the financial crisis will effect how she will pay for school and find a job after graduation.

“On a national level, I think the economy is the most important issue we should be considering when voting. Our economy is the worst is has been in eight decades, and that is a very scary thought,” she said.

Retzlaff is also concerned about the war and wants someone who can bring it to an end as she thinks it has been going on for far too long. She is not the only student worrying about these issues. Michelle Shank, a journalism major, is worried about the economy and how each candidate will deal with the financial crisis..

“I think that right now the economy is what is on everyone’s mind,” she said. It is scary to me what will happen to our national debt and our social security if the Republicans keep running the white house.”

Sam Papendick feels strongly about free market and anti government involvement. “I believe our economy is crashing and will need someone who can crash with it and emerge from the ashes.”

Professors are also talking about what students should be concerned with most before Election Day. Dr. McCambridge, Associate Professor in the Management Department emphasizes that “students must, must, must become more familiar with economics. Students need to better understand how financial life works because they’re not entirely tuned into how serious the financial crisis is; it will affect their future livelihood.”

Dr. Deepankar Basu, an assistant professor for Economics Department, is heading a three-part lecture explaining the largest economic crisis since the 1920’s to people that are interested. He has said that short term we cannot do anything about debt. The American government must increase the value of monetary assets and as consumers we must exercise patience.

On a more untouched note, Justin Weber discusses his main concern in the election.

“I care a lot about foreign policy and the economy but I feel that something that isn’t talked about a lot is technology, privacy, and regulation of the Internet,” he said. From what I know, Obama is more likely to leave the Internet be, McCain can’t even e-mail. How can he understand how to use technology to solve our problems? Privacy on the internet is important to me and I want a candidate that will respect that.”

Education is also a hot topic among students. They find it important, but do not feel that students should not be given the opportunity freely. Ted Furr even says that he believes it should be privatized. He sounds off on other national issues as well.

“I think we should have mandatory minimum coverage health care for people over 18,” he said. “And I think we should efficiently spend our military budget and use it for strategic missions rather than large occupations and push our allies to support large peace operations.”

Shank says she really wants the right candidate for president, but also thinks that we need to keep our state in mind and focus on local issues.

One student who wished to remain anonymous said that she is most passionate about social rights topics “as in prochoice and thus the amendment that is trying to define a ‘person’ from the point of conception.” [She is speaking of Colorado’s Amendment 48 which aims to define a person at the moment of conception.]

“I do not agree that anyone should take a right away from people, especially the right for a woman to make a decision about her own body,” she said.

Amendment 48 is the most talked about initiative on CSU’s campus. In the past few weeks there have been frequent demonstrations, peaceful protests, and rallies for and against it.

Ali Rodway is a part of the National Organization for Women. She was involved in a rally on the CSU plaza on Wednesday with other students and volunteers for the “No on 48” campaign.

“[Amendment] 48’s reach is far greater than banning abortion,” she said. “It makes birth control illegal. It makes the morning-after pill illegal. It makes in-vitro fertilization illegal. It especially affects students because of so many women that are taking birth control. 48 will not be for the better- these women will no longer have the right to choose. Both men and women need to stand together because if this passes it will touch the lives of people all over the state.”

Of all the 18 amendments on Colorado’s ballot, the most money for advertisements have been used on Amendment 58. This measure would end the tax credit for energy companies. These oil companies currently pay a low severance tax and if passed, these companies would pay an additional 350 million dollars in state taxes.

Kevin Gritters, a business major, is extremely passionate about this particular amendment.

“The most important local issue for me is 58,” he said. “This would take away a 350 million dollar tax break given to gas and oil companies. Many people think this is a good way to pay a cheaper price at the pump. I voted no on this amendment because as a business man I understand that gas companies will not simply take the profit decrease, they will pass along those expenses to us the consumers through higher gas prices so they can make up for the 350 million they’re missing. I support gas and oil companies because they are a profitable business.”

Along with the national issues Retzlaff was interested it, there are many local issues she is affected by as well — especially since there are many amendments that will concern her future job as a teacher.

“Locally, I am concerned with initiatives 47, 49, and 54,” she said. “I am voting no on all three because they would take away rights that I will have as a teacher. They also affect every city employee so the entire state should be concerned with these issues.”

Amendments 47, 49, and 54 basically aim to silence voices of city employees and are being pushed by small interest groups.

With over a quarter of the voting population under 30, it’s obvious why students are speaking up. Dr. McCambridge explains how student passion for the election has surprised him.

“I am intrigued by the extent of student interest in the campaigns, students are talking more than they have in the past and I think that’s wonderful,” he said.

This could possibly be the most important election of our generation. Let your voice be heard!

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