QU political groups baffled by apathy as election nears

By on October 31, 2006

As the Nov. 7 Senatorial Elections approach, the university is making an attempt to bring political awareness to the student community. The QU Democrats and the QU Republicans are dedicated to providing entertaining and insightful programs in an effort to make undergraduates excited about the prospects for political change.

“We will be having a roundtable discussion on November 3 with the QU Democrats,” said Andrew Clark, the QU Republicans president. “Professor Duffy will be moderating.”

The students at Quinnipiac seem to be quite indifferent toward what is at stake for Connecticut in the upcoming Senatorial Elections between Democrat candidate Ned Lamont, Independent candidate Joe Lieberman, and Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger.

“I think it’s frustrating,” said Sean Duffy, a political science professor. Duffy said that students should “keep abreast of and informed of issues that could affect all of us.”

QU Democrats Vice President Stephanie Fallar is also concerned about the severe amount of political apathy within the student population.

“Quinnipiac lives in a bubble and unless campaigns break through that bubble, students will overlook the campaigns and the election unless they choose to get involved,” said Fallar, who has been active with the organization for the past four years.

Clark agrees.

“Obviously, we all know Quinnipiac is very apathetic,” he said.

The sentiments floating around the Quinnipiac student population does, in fact, validate these points, crediting their significant lack of time during the day to devote to political awareness.

“I feel that it is a great responsibility that I need to apply much of my time to have a position on issues and without this knowledge, I feel that it would be irresponsible for me to be invested in politics,” said Kevin O’Connell, a junior occupational therapy major.

Nevertheless, Duffy feels there is definitely a need for political consciousness among students.

“Read the newspaper and get involved in something in the community to see what matters, even if it is very small,” he said.

As the upcoming Friday Forum at Five on Nov. 3 is the roundtable discussion, it is hoped that more people will be in attendance than the QU Democrats’ “Fight Apathy” program on Oct. 20, which was reported to have a small student turnout.

“I’m going to try to find students who are interested in coming and talking about the issues,” Duffy said. “I hope students will be simply going away with having an interesting, entertaining and informing discussion.”

There are students who are aware of the Senatorial Elections and even have an idea of which candidate they prefer.

“I like Joe Lieberman,” said junior Ali Marsh. “He has one commercial with ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’ written on a chalk board with a line between them and then he erases the line with an eraser. I think this shows his attempt to reach both political parties.”

MAT graduate student Greg Cohen is also quite aware of the intensity of the upcoming Senatorial Election.

“As a Democrat, I’m scared because Ned Lamont is stalling by large numbers in the pre-election polls,” Cohen said. “If Lieberman is successful, will he vote along Republican lines to spite Democrats who campaigned against him?”

The university is also providing students an opportunity to become aware of the world around them through the curriculum course Quinnipiac 101.

“I think QU 101 is great and we should use it to our advantage,” Clark said. “I think it will take a while to solve but while we’re here, we could give it a shot.”

Duffy supports the course, too, yet thinks that students should do more on their own to expand their political awareness.

“You have to go on the Internet and look up information,” Duffy said.

Stephanie Fallar, the QU Democrats vice president, gives the following piece of advice for students to be more politically aware: “Get the campaigns on campus!”


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