Presidential Politics, Campus Activism, Race Relations: Student Press Views

Glenn Ricketts

1.      As the 2012 presidential race gathers momentum, undergraduate political analysts provide commentary.  First and foremost is the need to vote:  there’s a lot at stake in this election, and an op ed writer for the Smith College Sophian urges fellow Progressives to do their duty at the ballot box.  That may be a tall order since, in the eyes of a colleague at the Daily Pennsylvanian, the “millennial” generation now attending college is pathetically apathetic.   There are specific issues, of course, and a columnist for the USC Daily Trojan thinks that the election will hinge on the economy, for which neither the Democrats nor the GOP seem to have a clue.  Another potentially touchy issue is illegal immigration, which has all but ceased.  In the view of a staffer for the JHU News-Letter, GOP candidate Mitt Romney had better take heed.  At the same time, an avowed and fervent Democrat takes to the pages of CMU’s Life to air some major differences with her party. 

2.      Writing in the Temple News, a regular columnist argues that there’s no necessary connection between ideological orientation and intellectual prowess.  At the Oklahoma Daily, his counterpart tells readers that the popular notion of a “liberal media” is pure, absolute bunk    Meanwhile, a regular columnist for the Michigan Daily offers some thoughts on victimization and gets some real traction from his readers.  And in response to frequent commentary about the “right to life,” an opinion writer at the Daily Mississippian wonders why there isn’t more recognition of the “right to death.” 

3.      With less than a month left until he graduates, a departing senior at the UNH imparts some words of advice to underclassmen still in pursuit of that goal.  In a similar vein, a retiring editorialist for the Rutgers Daily Targum explains his journalistic philosophy for the benefit of readers and future staffers. At the same time, a soon-to-graduate columnist at the PSU Collegian tries to assuage a common undergraduate anxiety: if you don’t know at this point what you want to major in, that’s really OK. A freshman at Brown indicates that the major selection process can indeed be pretty daunting.  But you’ll get there.  In any case, don’t worry: a senior staffer for the Indiana Daily Student affirms that college is worth every penny you spent for it. 

4.      Campus climate, race relations, hate crimes and “tolerance” policies often get quite a bit of play, as they did recently.  At Williams College, for instance, the editors of the Williams Record are glad to endorse the school’s new “bias reporting” procedures, as evidenced by the response to an actual incident.  Similarly, a staffer for the Daily Illini stresses the need to take hate crimes seriously. But wait, says a colleague at the U of Maryland Diamondback, you really can get carried away with this hypersensitive “bias intervention” stuff, you know.  Let’s all take it a bit easier, can we? Along similar lines, a columnist for MSU’s State News tries to strike a balance between campus “tolerance” policies and free speech, which increasingly seems subject to encroachment by them.  Meanwhile, a writer for the Rocky Mountain Collegian reflects on the Trayvon Martin case, joined by pairs of colleagues elsewhere with contrasting perspectives: these at the American University Eagle, this one and this one at the Auburn Plainsman.  By contrast, a colleague at the USC Daily Bruin thinks that community/police relations have improved significantly in Los Angeles since the Rodney King incident of 20 years ago. 

5.      At GWU, a writer for the Hatchet registers his admiration for the consistent political and social activism of undergraduates at his school.  Not the same at all at UConn Daily Campus, where an op ed commentator has some major problems with protest tactics employed at some recent demonstrations in his own back yard.  But at UC Berkeley, some co-authors urge students on campus and everywhere to stand united against proposed state legislation that seems to reflect corporate interests, to the detriment of the middle class.  And a writer for the UM/ Kansas City University News has much bigger plans:  since the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to running out of steam, he argues that activists should turn their efforts to bringing socialism to the United States. 

6.      At Oregon State University, a columnist in the Daily Barometer addresses a local epidemic: the use of the word “like,” which is way out of control.  

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