Debate week has finally arrived. Despite all the headaches, in the end, it will finally pay off when the student body has this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel the excitement of American politics as all the major networks setup shop on campus for live political discussion, and the school puts on a first-rate series of events throughout the day, leading up to the big show that evening. I plan on taking full advantage of this chance to enjoy all the work that my fellow students, this University and I have done, as long as it doesn’t take place anytime between 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
From what I understand, the decision not to cancel classes this Thursday is final. However, I must voice my concern that doing this is only going to ruin opportunities for the student body to get involved with politics, while certainly doing nothing to help increase student political awareness any further than all the other events would.
For example, CNN has planned an entire day of live broadcasts from the UC Patio. We’re talking about shows like Crossfire, Inside Politics, and Wolf Blitzer Reports. These are shows that have helped foster and feed my love for politics. Yet, when I finally have the opportunity to participate and see these shows live, I have to choose between my weather forecasting class and Crossfire.
On top of the CNN broadcasts, the C-SPAN School Bus will be open during a time when many students will be in class, as well as the panel discussion, “Covering the Campaign,” which is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., something I won’t be able to attend. We even had this problem two weeks ago with the “9/11 and the Presidential Election” panel discussion, where, apparently, turnout was relatively low, almost entirely due to its time, 1:45 p.m.
I do understand that, due to the large number of events, it would be impossible to schedule all of them in the evening before the debate, and I also know that we are at the University of Miami to learn, first and foremost. Yet, I can’t help but be disappointed that this educational opportunity is going to pass the students by, while we all still have to deal with traffic, parking and security problems.
It’s unfair that the students have to choose between their classes and getting involved. It’s hypocritical to emphasize the importance of politics and then throw a slew of obstacles in the way of taking advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. And it’s unjust to waste all of the hard work our university’s employees have done by having low student turnout at the events.
Luke Kosar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org