October 2, 2012

Why is the University of Wisconsin allowing President Obama to hold a political rally in the center of campus at midday on a class day, disrupting classes?

The rally is at noon on Thursday, and I'm not yet able to tell whether I can use my classroom at 3:30, but there's talk — not official word, just talk — that no classes can be held during some as-yet unrevealed time period around the rally.

The location for this rally is right in the center of campus — a beautiful photo op, where a great-looking crowd can be compressed between parallel lines of buildings and where the President can be framed looking out on that crowd, just in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln, with the city skyline in the background, featuring the state capitol building. Nice for the campaign, but positioned to maximize disruption of regular classes. Is that a bug or a feature? If there are no classes and it's a class day, students are around and they are free to attend. Classes are being cancelled to supply the photogenic crowd for the President?

Would the same facilitation be provided to the Romney campaign? It's perfectly easy to say yes. This is Madison, Wisconsin, a liberal and left-wing political stronghold. The Romney campaign will never seek this access, so the need to treat it equally is purely hypothetical.

ADDED: The University's web page takes care to frame the event as a "presidential visit" rather than a campaign rally.
Here’s a look at other visits by sitting presidents, past presidents and candidates who would go on to the Oval Office, based on a search of university archival material and the State Historical Society....
As if this isn't about the election! And then, amazingly, the website tells us "tickets for the event are available here."

Here? Guess where here is?! It's the Obama campaign website. And to get a ticket you have to fill out the campaign's form, providing them with your email address, full name, and phone number! This information is all required to get access to the event.

68 comments:

Shanna said...

Do universities ever turn this kind of stuff down?

I remember being distinctly irritated one time when Gore came to speak and I had to go a very weird way to class, around multiple buildings, because a huge chunk of campus was closed off for security. All universities care about is what they can say in the brochures.

cubanbob said...

Saying and doing are two different things. Somehow I suspect if Romney were to try to do the same at UW there would be some 'technical' issues. If I were a student, especially if I were paying full freight I would be pissed if I had my classes cancelled. I'm sure the parents are also thrilled to see their money wasted for nothing more than a photo op.

Uncle Jimbo said...

I think the interesting thing is how few people they can plan on attracting. In 2008 Barry filled the Kohl Center to overflowing, and the adoring multitudes flocked to touch the hem of his garment.

This time he has to give college kids a free skip day to get even a meager crowd. That will show again on election day with light turn out.

Cordially,

Uncle J

Mogget said...

I think an institution in Virginia turned down a campaign appearance this year. It came on the first day of class, as I recall, and they simply didn't want the disruption. Madison, however, will revel in experience, which tells you quite a bit about Madison.

wyo sis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit said...

Yes, I think the University would allow a Romney rally, but, presently, would that campaign take the chance on not filling up the space and creating a negative photo-op or poor optics? I doubt it.

wyo sis said...

The answer is "No" Romney wouldn't be given that kind of access. Nor would a sitting Republican president.

They wouldn't ask for it either. It's a matter of courtesy on the part of the president or candidate not to ask for that kind of disruption.

FleetUSA said...

UVA (very liberal too) told Choom's campaign to stuff it. They held it at an off-campus location and didn't pay for the increased security they required from the town.

campy said...

Deny Romney the same access? Are you kidding? The U would jump at the chance to shout down a republican and run him out of town.

Meade said...

This may seem raincist to some, but the forecast right now is polling 30% in favor of rain on his parade.

machine said...

Cranks are just going to moan about everything...

wyo sis said...

I love it that machine speaks of cranks.

Phil 3:14 said...

Why, in Madison!?

Is that a serious question?

Mark O said...

It's just racist not to give that nice Mr. Obama anything he wants. Bless his heart.

Jay said...

Would the same facilitation be provided to the Romney campaign?

HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA

Tank said...

Jay sums it up nicely.

Bob Ellison said...

I'd think Obama's rally will be a stimulative and learning experience in any case. Boring lectures (not yours, I'm sure, Professor) happen all the time. Seeing first-hand the spectacle of a POTUS visit, with all the attendant security, political hullabaloo, and news media attraction could be useful to nearly all students.

Bob Ellison said...

uh, *stimulating. Not enough coffee yet.

EDH said...

"...where a great-looking crowd..."

If not a "diverse" crowd?

Brennan said...

The Secret Service is going to lock down your campus. There will be security checkpoints set up with a 500 foot perimeter. You will have to show photo id to pass through.

This is just the post 9/11 security bubble POTUS will inevitably travel within.

MadisonMan said...

This is a good recruitment tool for minority students.

Rusty said...

wyo sis said...
I love it that machine speaks of cranks.

He's playing with his as we speak.

Matthew Sablan said...

Students should ask for a refund for any classes canceled for political activity. Then again, I was one of the rare college students who got perfect attendance in almost every class every semester. I'd be annoyed if I were essentially robbed of a class I had paid for.

John Bragg said...

How much is an adoring crowd of Madison college students going to help Obama in carrying the state of Wisconsin?

The video will be of the mass of UW students, not of the more colorful denizens of the People's Republic of Madison, but will the symbolism and optics of a big rally in Madison help Obama with the swing voters who represent the difference between Obama carrying the state in 2008 and Walker being elected in 2010?

Tank said...

But will he be visiting the Jelly Belly factory or the Mars Cheese Castle?

Robert said...

Great-looking WHITE crowd.

Robert said...

Great-looking WHITE crowd.

machine said...

It would take me too long to go through all of the math explaining how whiny you sound...

Mogget said...

I will be surprised if the no-go zone in only 500 ft. A good shooter with a rifle can hit what can be seen out to 500 yards or so. So I expect that a significant part of the campus with line-of-sight access to the presidential presence will be cleared out and shut down. However, I'm pretty sure no one who matters will object.

Meade said...

"It would take me too long to go through all of the math explaining how whiny you sound... ", whined machine, the commenter.

TWM said...

"HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA"

HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA . . . sorry just continuing the laughter.

Is it open only to students and faculty? If so, a very white crowd indeed. If not, I'm sure there are some Chicago union members they bus down for the speech.

TWM said...

BTW, why is he speaking here? I thought Wisconsin was a lock for Barry.

campy said...

BTW, why is he speaking here? I thought Wisconsin was a lock for Barry.

A candidate who knows he's headed for a landslide win can afford to go to safe states.

chickelit said...

Meade said...
This may seem raincist to some, but the forecast right now is polling 30% in favor of rain on his parade.

You're not raincist; you're just pluvial.

Emery Calame said...

He's here to take a leak on Walker.

TWM said...

"A candidate who knows he's headed for a landslide win can afford to go to safe states."

HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA

God, the hilarity this morning is out of control . . .

Jay said...

A candidate who knows he's headed for a landslide win can afford to go to safe states.

Alternatively, as his 4 years of governance has shown, Barry has not one utter clue what the hell he is doing.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to go to Madision.

Matthew Sablan said...

"A candidate who knows he's headed for a landslide win can afford to go to safe states."

-- You go to safe states to raise funds; you give pep rallies at swing states.

TWM said...

"You go to safe states to raise funds; you give pep rallies at swing states."

And he's having to pep the youths. A group that should be already pepped but is not.

chickelit said...

Here's to a jovial and pluvial Thor's Day.

Darrell said...

He's there to perp-walk Walker personally. Remember, Garage has told us that the indictments will come down "any day now."

SGT Ted said...

Why?

Because they are politically corrupt leftists posing as academics, thats why.

galdosiana said...

Brennan said...
The Secret Service is going to lock down your campus. There will be security checkpoints set up with a 500 foot perimeter. You will have to show photo id to pass through.

But...wouldn't that be racist?

Michael Haz said...

They never do this at the Engineering campus. For good reason.

If Obama has to appear at UW, the polling data must show a loss of support among students. My neice is a freshman and reports that in her dorm there are nearly as many Romney signs as Obama signs.

And more thna a few coeds have posters of Paul Ryan.

ricpic said...

Learning experience in what sense, Ellison? You may be right, but without specifics I can't agree or disagree.

Chip Ahoy said...

Whatever he has to say to me can be said from his office.

So he's not speaking to me. He's using our money, our resources, our giant airplane, our money, our time, to speak specifically to someone else, about himself most likely, and if about someone else, then to mischaracterize them.

I am not getting my money worth. Like Comcast.

ricpic said...

Does Obama ever speechify in front of anyone older than twenty?

traditionalguy said...

Will the University erect a monument on that spot to our Socialist Founding Father?

Curious George said...

Students only? Well Brittany is screwed.

garage mahal said...

It's not students only and you don't need photo ID to get in.

Rustling Leaves said...

I would be pissed if I was a student there forced to skip class. I understand people like Eric Holder, who protested and skipped final exams for two years of college (yet still managed to pass), do not see college as an opportunity to learn the most that you can. Some of us however, actually went to college to learn, not to skip classes and exams. Considering the incredible cost of college these days, I find it unethical to force students to skip their classes for a political rally. They may be the minority, but some people really do value learning.

Calypso Facto said...

Will Baldwin be there? I begrudgingly accept a President coming to campus and wasting my tax and tuition dollars, but if they turn it into a campaign rally for others (ala Tom Barrett) I think it's pret' near criminal misappropriation.

Dr Weevil said...

Since people mentioned Romney, I just heard that he will be appearing the same day in Fishersville, VA, not far from where I live. He and Ryan will be at the Augusta County Fairgrounds at 6:00pm (so people with 9-5 jobs can go). Gate opens at 4:00.

How big is the venue? I can't find a number, but it's big enough to have held a Monster Truck rally, a Confederate Railroad concert, and (duh) a County Fair in the last couple of months, in an area where county fairs are a big deal, so it's pretty big. And they won't be disrupting any classes or anything else except possibly traffic on nearby roads (I may take a different route home from work that day) since there's not much except farms and a factory or two around Expoland (that's the name of the fairgrounds, if anyone wants to research it further).

Blogger 'Fishersville Mike' has mentioned the rally, but I don't know whether he's planning to go.

Jane said...

Who's paying the security costs? Seems to me it's a recurring issue that the Obama campaign has a rally somewhere and the town/university/whoever has to pay these expenses.

Sorun said...

"The University's web page takes care to frame the event as a "presidential visit" rather than a campaign rally."

With Obama, who can tell the difference? All he does is campaign.

MadisonMan said...

Last time Obama was in town, it cost the locals about $260K in extra security costs.

From today's local paper: UW-Madison and the Obama campaign are working on a contract to cover the university's costs for hosting the president

Nothing about the costs to the city.

edutcher said...

From the way Ann describes the ticket deal, it sounds like the way scams are run.

Or porn sites.

Very fitting, in this case.

wyo sis said...

I love it that machine speaks of cranks.

You can't start one without one.

campy said...

BTW, why is he speaking here? I thought Wisconsin was a lock for Barry.

A candidate who knows he's headed for a landslide win can afford to go to safe states.


Then why isn't he just golfing?

This is somebody who's worried about his base.

kimsch said...

Tank,

Mars Cheese Castle and Jelly Belly are too far east - and too close to the onliest Chick-Fil-A in Wisconsin...

He won't be flying in to Mitchell...

Michael in ArchDen said...

"The University's web page takes care to frame the event as a "presidential visit" rather than a campaign rally."
All while the University negotiates with the campaign for covering the costs. Why do they think the campaign is willing to pay those costs if it's not a campaign event?

A: Willfill Ignorance

Larry J said...

A visit like this can easily cost the University tens of thousands of dollars for increased security. The Obama campaign very rarely picks up the tab for these expenses so they'll get passed on to the Wisconsin taxpayers. Since Obama became president, he has cost taxpayers $1.3 billion to pay for his and his family's travel expenses.

Bob Ellison said...

ricpic, I was a gov't major, so I'm biased. But I think students, empty vessels that they may be, can learn from observation and experience. Watch the motorcade. Try getting inside the barrier with or without ID. Listen to the speaker, estimate the crowd size, and listen to their response. How many non-white people are in the crowd? How many will remain an hour after the motorcade has left?

Rustling Leaves said...

I wonder what the cost is to each student for one day of classes. I bet it is not pocket change, considering the steep cost of college these days. Is the Obama campaign going to reimburse this money to the students who are forced to skip a day of classes? What about science experiments that need to be tossed away and started over. Sometimes an experiment can't wait until the next day. A culture may die, an important timepoint missed, something needs to be extracted at a specific time, something was incubating or processing, etc. Does he understand how disruptive his presence may be?

edutcher said...

Nothing is more important than the Messiah.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder what the cost is to each student for one day of classes. I bet it is not pocket change, considering the steep cost of college these days

Do the math. Tuition -- in-state -- is $5K. Assume each student takes 15 credits, or 5 3-cr classes. The T/Th classes are typically 75 minutes. You'd be missing 1 or 2 of those, if they fell on Thursday afternoon. So 1/30th or 2/30th of 1/5th of your class load.

$66, or so.

If you are out of state, multiply the cost 5-fold or 6-fold, or something like that.

My daughter doesn't have Thursday afternoon classes, she's typically working then, but she'll probably see the President instead.

pfennig said...

I have a hard time thinking that this should be on Bascom Hill. I am sure that it will be a great visual because the buildings are beautiful (except for the law school), the campus and trees will look wonderful, and the buildings will frame and contain the crowd. On the other hand, this is one of the busiest intersections on campus. Is everyone going to get rerouted who doesn't apply for a ticket? What about the disruptions to the classrooms all around Bascom Hill? Clearly, the administration is more interested in providing Obama with great optics than they are with education, otherwise they would be steering this rally to any number of more appropriate but less visually appealing spots on campus.

Calypso Facto said...

I wonder what the cost is to each student for one day of classes. I bet it is not pocket change, considering the steep cost of college these days

Do the math. Tuition -- in-state -- is $5K.


Total landed education cost (tuition, food, housing, living costs, etc.) is about $12k per semester in my experience. And one of 72 or so instructional days is being lost, so $167?

Rustling Leaves said...

If that $167 is being paid for with student loans, shoudn't future interest on the loan also be considered?

DEEBEE said...

'cause we can