Does Tech’s Dean of Students support Obama?

Orit Sklar write in Front Page Magazine:

In the email message sent through the Buzzport announcement system, usually reserved for official Institute business, all 17,000 Georgia Tech students were informed about Obama’s visit and solicited to volunteer for his campaign. The message stated:

Senator Obama is also in need of a lot of volunteers to help him publicize while he is in Atlanta. If you are interested in volunteering you can check the box that says volunteers on the RSVP page.

Volunteers will be needed for Wednesday (street publicity team),

Thursday (sign making party) and Saturday (helping with the actual event) you can also reply to this message if you’d like to volunteer.

Is this solicitation an appropriate use of the Buzzport announcement system?

Not what I like to see from my Alma Mater.

21 comments

  1. Nicki says:

    He appeared at Gatech, correct? In that case it’s appropriate. Like UGA soliciting volunteers to help with HW Bush or Clarence Thomas’s visit.

  2. No. I’d love to see the fire-storm if something was sent across any collegiate announcement service encouraging studnets to volunteer for Rudy or Fred and from the Dean of Students nonetheless.

    Except maybe Liberty. But my tax dollars don’t fund LU.

  3. drjay says:

    assuming that similar announcements are made for other guests having events at the school, its probably not that big a deal–otherwise i suppose its a bit suspect. algore came to athens in 92 and had a rally in front of tate that was a pretty big deal but i do not remember how it was publisized as i was a junior in college at uga– i was probably hungover

  4. Loren says:

    But Obama isn’t merely a guest in this instance. He’s not coming as part of a campus-sponsored function; he’s coming to campaign.

    To wit, when Clarence Thomas came to UGA (the first time), he was giving a commencement speech at graduation. When Ralph Nader came, he was brought by the University Union Ideas & Issues committee. But when Karenna Gore came to promote her dad during the 2000 campaign, that was headed up by the Young Democrats, not the university.

  5. DMZDave says:

    The solicitaiton announcement,though unasked for by the Obama campaign, could conceivably constitute an inappropriate “in kind” campaign contribution on the part of Georgia Tech. There really should be no grey area here. Public funds should not be used to promote a partisan political candidate and public universities should set the highest ethical standards on these matters. For example, when a University of California campus paid John Edwards $50,000 to speak on poverty (you can’t make this stuff up) knowing full well he was about to announce as a presidential candidate, the $50,000 fee has the appearance of an inappropriate campaign contribution. University officials who use their office to provide these back channel contributions of public or student funds to those they support demonstrate unethical behavior and taxpayers and the media should hold them to account.

  6. Nicki says:

    It appears Obama not only visited campus but was hosted by a student group. If that’s the case, then whatever is done for other guests would be appropriately done for him.

  7. memberg says:

    Bill,

    EAT IT. I&I RULES!

    http://www.uga.edu/union/i&i.htm

    For non-Bill people:
    University Union is the student programming board, which basically decides how the student activity fees are spent. Anyone can join (at least when I was at UGA). There are several divisions, including Ideas & Issues, to ensure a wide range of programs.

  8. Demonbeck says:

    How appropriate for Tech. The Division Coordinator’s last name is “Dateless Nerd.”

  9. Burdell says:

    Access to the Buzzport announcement system is very restricted, consequently, every student (including the Student Body President) must request that an administrator to forward their email announcement to the list. This is why the email announcing Obama contains the initials of the Dean of Students (John Stein) rather that simply the name of the president of AASU (James Holder, a fine young man, regardless of whether you agree with his political views).

    The entire email is pasted below:

    Dear Fellow Students
    On Saturday April 14th 2007 GTAASU will have the pleasure of hosting Senator
    Barack Obama in a public address at 11am at Yellow Jacket Park on Georgia
    Tech’s Campus. This event is free and open to the public and doors will open
    at 10am. Please visit our website for more details and select the link to
    RSVP for Tickets. Senator Obama is also in need of a lot of volunteers to
    help him publicize while he is in Atlanta. If you are interested in
    volunteering you can check the box that says volunteers on the RSVP page.
    Volunteers will be needed for Wednesday(street publicity team),
    Thursday(sign making party) and Saturday(helping with the actual event) you
    can also reply to this message if you’d like to volunteer. Please let me
    know ASAP and also feel free to forward this message to ANYONE! We are
    expecting a very large crowd and I am being told that NO STUDENTS WILL BE
    TURNED AWAY.

    James K. Holder II
    President, AASU
    http://www.gtaasu.org
    http://www.barackobama.com

    js497

    As you can see, the email is clearly from a student member of a student group. Given the size of the rally, I think such a public solicitation for volunteers is appropriate, unlike, for instance, the times when Bob Barr visits campus.

    As much as I prefer Barr to Obama, the latter in this case is more popular and thus draws many many more people.

    The question is, will the GT College Republicans try to announce their next guest speaker over Buzzport and then sue when it doesn’t get posted?

    The simple truth is that contrary to the persistent baseless whining of a couple of students, Tech is neither a bastion of liberalism nor an oppressive environment for conservatives.

    It is, however, a (slightly nerdy) world leader in solving real problems without constantly pitching fits over meaningless perceived offenses. I didn’t know you had to be either liberal or conservative to believe in that.

  10. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Heh. Why is it not surprising that Sklar only gave half the story. As much fun as it is to exaggerate the awful conditions at a place like Tech — as well as to create strawmen to make a big show of tearing down (or of suing) — it really isn’t beneficial to anybody (least of all those who engage in such activities in public fora).

  11. Chet Lemon says:

    JE wrote:

    “Why is it not surprising that Sklar only gave half the story. As much fun as it is to exaggerate the awful conditions at a place like Tech — as well as to create strawmen to make a big show of tearing down (or of suing) — it really isn’t beneficial to anybody (least of all those who engage in such activities in public fora).”

    JE, did you even read what you responded to?

    “Access to the Buzzport announcement system is very restricted, consequently, every student (including the Student Body President) must request that an administrator to forward their email announcement to the list. This is why the email announcing Obama contains the initials of the Dean of Students…”

    Obviously the Dean of Students, by allowing this announcement to be sent to the entire student body, endorsed the message. He allowed the message to be sent out UNDER HIS OWN name and facilitated its delivery over system set aside for specific purposes — in-kind contributions to a partisan political campaign not being one of those purposes. It was as good as sent by Stein.

    What “half of the story” has Sklar left out? What about this is so hard to understand? Is this just vendettaitis speaking Jeff?

  12. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Mommy, there are closet Liberals under my bed (in my dorm)!!

    Grow up. Maybe concentrating on school would be of greater benefit than trying to create (or exaggerate) problems that don’t exist or aren’t nearly as severe as made out to be, just to fulfill your apparent thirst for unneeded quasi-activism.

    The “victim” mentality instilled by liberal programs and policies that so many conservatives work to counter is evidenced just as pathetically here and in so many other places where college conservative “activists” create problems so as to demonstrate against them — and it’s no more excusable or mature there than it is anywhere else.

  13. Chet Lemon says:

    Bizarre response Jeff.

    When exactly is it “permissible” in your view for a conservative student to challenge a Leftist administration? I’m sure Sklar appreciated your advice about studying hard Daddy Jeff, but an institutional in-kind contribution to a partisan political campaign would seem like a legit gripe.

    Love how you “channel” Sklar, a la John Edwards. You might as well have written:

    “She speaks to you through me and I have to tell you right now – I didn’t plan to talk about this – right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She’s inside me, and she’s talking to you. [And she’s making the WHOLE thing up to get attention.]”

    Having read a good amount of what you’ve written on other issues and even on the very issue of Leftist domination of the American university, I am having a hard time figuring out why Sklar and her co-plaintiff in their case against GT drive you so mad. The actions and policies of GT outlined in that case are textbook Leftist suppression of all ideas outside the orthodoxy, yet you treat it like that wedgie you just can’t seem to pick all the way out. Sounds personal and beneath you. What gives?

  14. Adam Smith says:

    What gives it that Jeff’s hate of the left is only matched by his hate of College Republicans. The co-plaintiff was the GACR executive director when the suit was filed. College Republican activities were mentioned in the suit… Go figure.

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