by Duane Campbell
I am concerned. I have been tabling on my campus for the last 4 weeks and the level of student interest/concern is extremely low. California is not a swing state in the presidential election, but we have two very close Congressional seats and two vital propositions; Prop. 30 that would fund public education and the universities in this time of crisis http://www.yesonprop30.com, and Prop. 32 –an open assault on labor Wisconsin style http://www.stopspecialexemptions.org. I estimate political interest and participation among California students at 1/20th. of what it was in 2008. This estimate is based upon response to voter registration and persons asking for and accepting literature on the propositions. It is so crass that students could actually vote themselves a $495 rebate on their tuition – but there is scant interest.
Here is a reasonably well developed view of why the student interest level is so low. My Vote Doesn’t Matter, http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/09/25/essay-role-colleges-encouraging-students-vote
In part the generation that came of age in the time of austerity has learned to not expect much from voting and government. After all, the Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement were projects of their grandparents. And, it has been a very long time since organized labor gave us much to cheer about. ( The UFW in the 60’s- 70’s) How much engagement did you get from your grandparents’ struggles ?
My question is there something others are doing in and around their campuses that its working? – besides writing a blog post? What can we do in the last 3 weeks? We have a local organization with 6,000 facebook members, what would work ? And, what can we do to prepare for the important conflict of the fiscal crisis in November and December? Please share some ideas.
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