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Presidential candidates Romney and Obama not rejected, but not invited either

By Kevin Tighe
On September 19, 2012

Despite rumors around campus and throughout the Greater Cincinnati area, Xavier University did not reject campaign visits from President Barack Obama or Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to University and campaign officials.
Instead, Xavier subscribes
to a policy that prevents the University from hosting rallies Kellerthat, and the University had a scheduling conflict.
Recently, both campaigns thought of the Cintas Center as a potential location for campaign rallies. However, they both chose elsewhere. Romney chose Union Terminal on Sept. 1 and Obama chose Eden Park on Sept. 17.
"In both instances, Cintas Center was one of several venues that were to be visited as a possible site," Director of the Cintas Center Mike Dunn said. "In both instances, we did not even host campaign personnel for a site visit."
Xavier University President Father Michael Graham, S.J. echoed Dunn. "The event was not "offered"
to us, but that we were one of several venues under consideration by the advance team," Graham said. When asked the question of whether or not Xavier denied Romney or Obama from coming, Executive Director for University Communications Doug Ruschman, Media Relations Coordinator for University Communications Laurel Bauer, Associate Provost for Student Affairs Dave Johnson and Director for Government Relations Gene Beaupre referred to the American Council on Education's (ACE) policy, which requires educational institutions to abide by the Internal Revenue Service's protocol. For Xavier University this means: "Consistent with relevant sections of the Internal Revenue Code, the University may not participate, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The institution must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the appearances constitute speeches, question-and-answer
sessions or similar communications in an academic setting and are not conducted as campaign rallies or events."
Provost and Chief Academic Officer Scott Chadwick, Ph.D.,
defended the policy. "To maintain the integrity of our academic mission we must be passionately committed to
helping educate the electorate about issues but indifferent to
helping someone win an election," Chadwick said. "Hosting
a political rally would imply or be construed as our university
supporting one or another candidate, and that is neither the
role nor the mission of Xavier as a private Jesuit Catholic
university." However, Romney's campaign shared information that does not directly align with the preventative claims for them, though it aligns with the lack of rejection.
"Xavier University was more than accommodating with assisting our campaign in identifying prospective event locations," Ohio Romney for President Spokesperson Mike
Maloney said. "Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts with event spaces, we were unable to move forward with an event. The University made clear that they would be willing to host an event in the future, and we remain hopeful that this may be accomplished." Unfortunately no one from
the Obama for America campaign was willing or able to comment on the issue. Students find decision "deeply upsetting" Because of rumors spread through social media last Wednesday, a heated student response began, revealing passion behind the desire for political When asked the question of whether or not Xavier denied Romney or Obama from coming, Executive Director for University Communications Doug Ruschman, Media Relations coordinator for University Communications Laurel Bauer, Associate Provost for Student Affairs Dave Johnson and Director for Government Relations Gene Beaupre referred
to the American Council on Education's (ACE) policy, which requires educational institutions to abide by the Internal Revenue Service's protocol. For Xavier University this means: "Consistent with relevant sections of the Internal Revenue Code, the University may not participate, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The institution must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the appearances constitute speeches, question-and-answer
sessions or similar communications in an academic setting and are not conducted as campaign rallies or events."
Provost and Chief Academic Officer Scott Chadwick, Ph.D.,
defended the policy. "To maintain the integrity of our academic mission we must be passionately committed to
helping educate the electorate about issues but indifferent to
helping someone win an election," Chadwick said. "Hosting
a political rally would imply or be construed as our university
supporting one or another candidate, and that is neither the
role nor the mission of Xavier as a private Jesuit Catholic
university." However, Romney's campaign shared information that does not directly align with the preventative claims for them, though it aligns with the lack of rejection.
"Xavier University was more than accommodating with assisting our campaign in identifying prospective event locations," Ohio Romney for President Spokesperson Mike
Maloney said. "Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts with event spaces, we were unable to move forward with an event. The University made clear that they would be willing to host an event in the future, and we remain hopeful that this may be accomplished." Unfortunately no one from
the Obama for America campaign was willing or able to comment on the issue. Students find decision "deeply upsetting" Because of rumors spread through social media last Wednesday, a heated student response began, revealing passion behind the desire for political candidates to come to campus. Seniors Chelsea Rodstrom and Kailyn McGowan coauthored a letter to Father Graham, which reads, "This decision [to deny campaign rallies] is deeply upsetting, as it seems to go against the core values, which
Xavier has instilled in us: to go forth being educated men and women for others." Written on Sept. 14, Rodstrom and McGowan received more than 400 signatures and delivered the letter Tuesday to Graham's office. Additionally, the Student Government Association (SGA) proposed a resolution on the matter, authored by Senior Senator Jimmy Geiser. The resolution, which will be voted on next week, calls for the university to resolve the policy for political
events and engage students further civically on campus.
SGA President senior Seth Walsh said, "If we had the
chance to host any, if not both, presidential candidates and did not take advantage of that opportunity, I would be personally disappointed." Administrative Response Already, Xavier is preparing to address the concern raised by this issue. "I am impressed by the political awareness and passion of our students," Chadwick said. "I am always open to talking with students about situations affect ing their education about which they agree, take issue or have
questions." Johnson shares a similar sentiment.
"Students being passionate about the election is a good
thing," Johnson said. "The question is, how do we channel that energy? We need to team up as students, faculty and staff and work together. November is just around the corner." Johnson has charged his Division of Student Affairs to plan events and programs to engage, educate and motivate students during this election season. "I love the idea of a representative debate," Beaupre said. "If we can't get the presidential candidates on campus for a debate
- which would be ideal - we could instead have debaters on their behalf." According the Johnson, there still is a potential for presidential candidates to come to Xavier. "Honestly, if we framed it as an educational and dialogical
event, I would love to host candidates," Johnson said. "We just need to work together on such an endeavor."


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