Council Could Move Voter Drives into Dorms for ’08 Presidential Elections

    Last night’s A.S. Council meeting was built on a theme of
    social awareness as councilmembers entertained discussions about activism,
    philanthropy and civic engagement.

    Alma Natalia De Castro of the Student Senate for California
    Community Colleges spoke during public input about a protest April 21 to oppose
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget cuts to public education. She said
    the San Diego rally will coincide
    with similar events elsewhere in the state. She asked the A.S. Council to send
    a representative to speak at the event; the invitation didn’t garner a response.

    Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Stephanie Usry asked the
    council to participate in UCSD Cares Week, which is scheduled to take place
    during week five. Usry said the event could provide a “last hurrah to give back
    to the community” as this year’s council enters its final weeks.

    Sixth College
    Senator John Cressey took up Usry’s call later in the meeting, asking for
    philanthropic brainstorming from his colleagues. Facing a dearth of responses,
    Cressey let the lack of an idea slide but still committed to signing up the
    council for UCSD Cares Week anyway, presumably with the hopes of identifying a
    more specific plan soon.

    The council also debated the issue of “dorm storming,” which
    refers to nonpartisan voter registration drives entering the domain of student
    dormitories.

    At issue was a resolution that favored the implementation of
    dorm storming with the permission a college’s resident dean in pursuit of
    greater civic engagement. The practice seemingly brought two favorite causes of
    student leaders into conflict — privacy and voting.

    Thurgood Marshall College Chair Lana Blank was first to
    express skepticism over the proposed resolution.

    “I feel like we should have a certain respect for the
    residence,” she said of voter-registering dorm stormers. “It’s one thing if you
    can go into OVT, [but] it’s another thing if you can come into my suite.”

    Blank also related the prospect of dorm storming to student
    complaints about overly nosy residential security officers not being respectful
    of students’ privacy.

    “Why are we making ourselves just like things we’re fighting
    against?” she asked. “We don’t like RSOs going into private spaces.”

    CalPIRG representative Daniel Teplitz attended the meeting
    to speak on the matter and encouraged the council the pass the resolution in
    light of the upcoming presidential election. When UCSD begins Fall Quarter,
    student organizers will have less than a month to register voters before the
    deadline, an opening that Teplitz said could be used effectively with the help
    of dorm storming.

    “[With] access to the dormitories … we could register so
    many more students on campus than we have [before],” he said. “It’s one of the
    best ways to talk to students because they have time when they’re at home.”

    President Marco Murillo said that he was worried that the
    resolution lacked the strategic wording and concrete details necessary for
    administrators to take it seriously and recommended the council postpone the
    resolution for two weeks. The council agreed with his suggestion and will
    revisit civics later this month.

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