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A missed opportunity

By Kevin Tighe
On September 30, 2012

Students of Xavier University, I write to you today as someone who loves our institution and its mission enough to say the following: I am disappointed. Allow me to explain. Last week, I found out we essentially had the opportunity to host both the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates this fall. We could have been rallied by both Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Simply, I can't comprehend
why this didn't happen. Yes, I was given some answers
last week. But to me they were not good enough. When I asked what was going on with the whole supposed rejection, I was given two responses: 1) a policy from the American Council on Education, which says: "The institution must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the appearances [by political candidates] constitute speeches, questionand- answer sessions or similar communications in an academic setting and are not conducted as campaign rallies or events and 2)
shrugged shoulders. A few responses: why didn't we ask Romney or Obama to alter their events to be speeches, question-and-answer sessions or similar communications in an academic setting? Why didn't we do our best to take advantage of the potential for such an experience? Fellow students, you should be frustrated. And if you're feeling apathetic or dub this an outdated issue, I'll tell you why you should care.
To those who say they don't care because "political season is obnoxious:" yes, campaigns are annoying. I agree with that. But, you see, they're annoying for a reason. We, the people, are annoying. Honestly, we are. Think about it. As citizens of the United States, we have a right that nearly 36% of the rest of the world does not share: we can vote. We can choose our government. The sad thing is, last presidential election, less than half of Americans from the ages of 18-29 voted. That's embarrassing. Additionally, I know you are annoyed by our government. I've literally heard you shout it from the GSC fireplace. Those frustrations are at stake this year. The economy, LGBTQ rights, abortion policy, tax rates, health care reform, student loans, education, immigration policy, environmental policy and more will, in fact, be heavily influenced by our,
the people's, choice in November. That's a whole lot of frustrations we can address. Now to add a little Xavier language
to this, the vision statement of our Xavier University is to, "become people of learning and reflection, integrity and achievement, in solidarity for and with others." If anything in the world is the embodiment of learning, reflection, integrity and achievement, it is being an informed citizen. So I come back
to my point. It makes absolutely no sense to me as to why we would not do everything in our power to bring Gov.
Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama to Xavier.
Here are the facts: Romney's campaign said we were hosptiable and they hope to come back. Obama's campaign refused to comment. That's because the campaign runs a very tight ship. To me, that's enough to show that if we really tried, we could have witnessed both candidates this semester.
I know we are required by the IRS as a non-profit, private educational institution to abide by the policy. But there are always ways to get around the policy. I'm sorry to those whom
I know in the Administration, but we live in a world where the
American citizen needs to be inspired to vote. We had the chance to do that. Unfortunately, we chose poorly not to. From Gary Johnson to Jill Stein, from Obama to Romney, I would love to see anyone of the 2012 Presidential candidates come to Xavier. Please do your best to invite them here. I would be the first person to show support of that decision. 


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