Monday, December 12, 2005

Sneaky college campaigning 

Here's another example of what is going on with the special election and the campus' reaction to it. This morning in a classroom building I find this flyer put up by College Democrats. The logo at the bottom of it reads "Endorsed by SCSU College Democrats. Event sponsored by Student Government." Does that make it seem like the candidates are being endorsed by student government? Certainly appears to from the stamp declaring this flyer "Approved by Center for Student Organizations and Leadership Development." The flyer contains a disclaimer stamped on it showing it comes from the CDs and not the official position of the university, but says nothing that disclaims it as official of the student government. Moreover, it is inappropriate in a state building (the student union is an exception to that rule.)

While it is not inappropriate to run a van to assist students who wish to vote by absentee, I think it's quite interesting that the effort coordinates with a partisan campus group, using student activity fees that are a tax on credit-taking behavior of all students.

Unsurprisingly, the union sent yet another message as well:
Certainly an important part of education is learning to be civically responsible. Many of your classes might focus on or include components that address this civic responsibility. But even in those that don't, it's not inappropriate to take a minute or two to provide information to students about voting and to encourage them to take the time to do this during this special election.
Perhaps it is time for the city of St. Cloud to hear of these attempts of students with no connection to the city to commandeer this election. And perhaps one could challenge some of these absentee ballots.

UPDATE (5 pm): Both the administration and student government have responded to my request this morning to take these flyers down, as they are in contravention of state law (see also DOER). The local newspaper has called about the issue as well, indicating they had read about this on the blog.

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