By Tim Metzler
Online News Editor
The Presidential election is approaching, and some Viterbo students already know which candidate they’re voting for. Others, however, are yet undecided. These undecided students are the target audience of two on-campus clubs, the College Republicans and the College Democrats.
“For this election season, we continue our Voter Registration Drive,” said Marlene Fisher, an associate professor of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, and the faculty adviser for the Viterbo College Democrats.
“Laura Fox, a co-chair of the club, has done so much already this year,” Fisher said. “She was the main organizer for our voter registration concert last week where we actually registered about 50 voters. Our deputies will continue to have tabling time in the Student Union. We will probably have at least one debate watching party and will also team up with UW-La Crosse to attend one of these at the Rivoli. We will show at least one movie, ‘Iron Jawed Angels,’ sometime in October. In addition, many of our students will help with canvassing and phone calls at the local Democratic Party office.”
Like the College Democrats, the College Republicans have plans for the election.
“In the past, the La Crosse County Republican Party leaders invited Viterbo College Republicans to the Lincoln Day dinner, where our members got to meet Governor Scott Walker, Governor Tommy Thompson and other Republican leaders,” said Paul Robinson, an associate professor in the Dahl School of Business, and the faculty advisor for the Viterbo College Republicans.
“This season, we have invited local party officials and candidates to the Viterbo campus, so we can grow in our understanding of the campaigns and issues,” Robinson said. “We will be involved in door knocking and making phone calls for Republican candidates running at the local, state and national levels.”
Both Fisher and Robinson believe that it is highly important that college students get out and vote this year, but also that they understand what they are voting for.
“I believe there are many reasons why college students should support President Obama in this election,” Fisher said.
“Probably one of the biggest policies that has impacted students since President Obama has taken office is that he actually doubled the amount for Pell grants for them,” Fisher said. “Governor Romney, on the other hand, would reverse this and cut Pell grants for students. In addition, President Obama fought against the doubling of student loan rates, which would really make repayment difficult for students when they graduate. He also capped student loan repayments at no more than 10 percent of income. In this economy, it has been difficult for college graduates. One of the major plans instituted under President Obama is his health care plan, which allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26.”
While the College Democrats are in favor of a second term for President Obama, the College Republicans have different thoughts.
“I think the American people have the common sense to realize that President Obama’s leadership has failed, and that his policies are unsustainable and sinking our nation,” said Robinson. “We need a change, and Mitt Romney has the successful turnaround experience to lead us out of this mess.”
“If Romney is elected, Viterbo students can expect to have more than only 50 percent of graduates find a full-time job in their field when they graduate,” Robinson said. “Students will be able to move into a career once they graduate under a Romney administration, rather than moving back home with their parents due to a terrible job market like college graduates are experiencing under President Obama, across the country. This will happen because U.S. companies are sitting on an unprecedented amount of cash but are not hiring because they are afraid of the huge uncontrolled deficits our Federal government is incurring and the adverse financial impact of Obamacare, when it hits us fully in 2014. If the election gives some tangible evidence that these problems will be addressed, companies will take their cash and start hiring people.”
Regardless of opinion, both the College Democrats and the College Republicans hope only that students will respect one another’s opinions.
“I believe that whatever party you belong to, or whatever position you hold, you should be civil to one another,” Fisher said. “All parties have value, believe strongly in their views, and we should treat one another with respect.”