The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Students stereotype political ideologies

On which side of the stump do SMU students sit?

A recent political poll and an upcoming event provide theanswer

College students today find themselves bombarded with anepidemic of pro-voting programs, from MTV’s “Rock theVote” to P.Diddy’s “Vote or Die.” No doubt,the constitutional right to vote is important, but are students atSMU really getting involved in the presidential election of 2004?Where do Mustangs stand on party affiliation, the issues, votingrights and the candidates themselves?

Most consider SMU’s political preferences fairlypredictable. SMU student Francis Foldshmird stated the generallyexpected answer, “Damn Republicans!”

The Princeton Review Web site, a guide for incoming students,labeled the university as “very conservative.” Moststudents agree the school is by no means a haven for Birkenstockedliberals with protest signs and acknowledged no shortage of”W ‘04″ stickers on the vehicles in the Airlineparking garage.

But is this really the way that students at SMU feel, or is thisjust an exaggerated stereotype?

A recent political poll, conducted with the assistance of thestatistics department, of more than 200 students involved inactivities ranging from athletic participation, scholarshipprograms and Greek organizations, revealed surprising studentreactions.

Contrary to popular belief, polling results prove that the SMUpopulation is not as conservative as many think. The majority ofstudents label themselves as “moderates.”

According to the survey, many Mustangs agree with the issuepositions of both parties, most claiming to be socially liberal andfiscally conservative. Elizabeth George, a junior business majorsays, “I like many things about the Democratic Party, but inthe last decade they have gone so far to the left and driven outmost moderate Democrats that I label myself a Republican bydefault.”

On a national level, programs like Project Vote Smart encouragestudents to decide on the basis of the many issues that affectyouth lives. They ask students to consider questions such as thepossible need for a draft? Will there be enough social security forthe youngest generation to collect when they come of age?

Many students at SMU admit the most prominent issues on campusconcern frat parties rather than political parties, but are adamantthat they are concerned national issues, especially the war onterror and economic issues.

But getting students involved is still the biggest concern— and goal — for a myriad of independent organizations.According to the Center for Information and Research on CivicLearning and Engagement, almost 27 million youth are eligible tovote in the U.S., but only 36 percent of this group made it to thepolls in 2000.

Nonpartisan groups such as Rock the Vote, Declare Yourself, TheNew Voter’s Project and Virgin Voter are rallyingcelebrities, political figures, and youth voters alike to encourageparticipation. According to a recent The Dallas Morning Newsreport, these nonpartisan groups will collectively spend more than$40 million on this election alone.

In an effort to spice up the process, these organizations arealso using new approaches to snare youth attention. Sexualconnotations such as MTV’s slogan, “ElectileDysfunction” draw in the 18-25 demographic. It’s Rockthe Vote program reports that 700,000 people have registered tovote on its Web site, which makes it appear as though these newappeals are working.

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