Supposed campus political apathy a no-show at crowded Kerry rally

Thousands of UM students battled the sun and humidity last weekend to be a part of history as John Kerry brought his campaign to campus.

“I think that it really says something – this turnout on a supposedly politically apathetic campus,” Chris Fisher, freshman, said. “I mean, maybe we’re not so apathetic after all.”

The crowd consisted mainly of students and faculty, but members of the Coral Gables community were present, of course in addition to the myriad of news crews. Kerry signs and buttons were displayed openly among the thousands of Kerry supporters that showed up at the rally.

“I support Kerry and I wanted to hear what he had to say in person,” Mark Lebsord, senior, said.

“I heard about [the rally] and I support Kerry, so I decided to come and see what it’s all about,” Kiyomi Beach, junior, said. “There’s like a line all the way around the back, so it’s crazier than I thought it would be.”

One long line of people snaked past Eaton Residential College, while the other went from the UM Bookstore all the way past the Rat.

After crowding into the Rock, the audience was pumped up through upbeat music, chants and colorful signs and flags. Kerry made his grand entrance to the eruption of applause and cheers.

“I’m a Democrat and I just wanted to come and support my candidate for President,” Paul Burkart, freshman, said. “I think that [the turnout] is great. I’ve never seen so many people on campus in one place before.”

As is customary in a democratic country, the opposition made an appearance to express their dissenting opinions. President Bush supporters dotted the crowd with their signs and cheers.

“How can you lower taxes and give people tax cuts and raise taxes for healthcare and everything like that?” Brad Tadum, sophomore, said. “He’s a very good speaker, and it’s going to be a very close election – but I think he’s a hypocrite.”

Throughout Kerry’s speech, the air was filled with cheers and supportive comments made by the audience, who listened intently to what Kerry had to say.

“I think [Kerry] touched on a lot of good issues, especially issues that pertain to the majority of the crowd,” Dahra Ahned, senior, said. “I wasn’t aware of the issues before coming here, and now I think that I’m better informed on how I’m going to vote in November.”

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at