Students for Nader Hosts Teach-In

Students for Nader held a pre-election teach-in Thursday afternoon in the Price Center, focusing on environmental issues, women’s issues and other “”hidden”” issues that event organizers said Democrats, Republicans and the media do not want people to know about.

“”I think we’d like to really charge this campus up politically and get this campus politically active,”” said Shaun McCollum, a member of Students for Nader. “”This is one of the best ways to do it.””

McCollum said that while members of various student organizations were invited to speak at the event, none of them was required to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in order to speak, since the event was primarily one about issues, not one to promote Nader.

Mark Spalding, a member of Students for Nader, spoke on environmental issues that he says are being ignored by the two major candidates.

He said the world is facing a loss of biodiversity, continued extinctions, overpopulation and the increased use of genetically modified organisms.

“”I don’t care how they taste, I don’t care if they taste good, I don’t care if they’re safe to eat — I don’t want them in my ecosystem,”” Spalding said of genetically modified crops.

Jose Mendoza, a member of the International Socialist Organization, spoke on the economy and the struggles of working-class people.

He said standards are declining for most people because the majority of Americans have no stock holdings.

“”The majority of people in this country have not benefited from this economy,”” Mendoza said.

He added that the plight of the working class is often ignored by the two major parties.

“”Workers have no political party to call their own,”” he said.

David Kuchta, a lecturer in the Revelle humanities department, spoke on what he called the “”corporatization”” of the university.

He said Nader rejects the “”mind-numbing and mind-closing”” standardized tests often used to measure success in education and instead supports raising critical thinking and enabling people to participate in democracy.

He said that many universities are run by people who do not teach and who have degrees in administration and business.

“”When was the last time you met a Regent?”” Kuchta asked. “”I didn’t ask ‘When was the last time you wrote a check to the Regents,’ but when was the last time you met a Regent?””

He said universities should be more accountable to the needs of students and that Nader supports free tuition for students of public colleges and universities.

Other issues discussed at the teach-in included gay and lesbian rights, media distortion, the two-party system, Al Gore’s oil interests and the crisis in the Middle East.

McCollum said he was impressed by the turnout and hopes that many people left the event more educated on the issues.

“”Get involved,”” he said. “”We can fight for change. We don’t have to sit back and watch society go in a direction we don’t like.””

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