Local caucus-goers upset with disorganization

by Liz Riggs

More than 300 people, mostly students, crammed into Ford Hall on Tuesday night to participate in a caucus that was, in the words of one organizer, “not perfectly run by any means.”

Several students complained about the lack of space and overall disorganization.

Students filled the classroom well before the 7 p.m. official start time, forming a line that ran down the hallway, down a staircase and to the building’s door. A classroom across the hallway was opened to accommodate the crowd’s overflow.

Tom Druk, a business marketing and education senior, said the room, occupied by about 150 students, could probably normally hold a maximum of 70 people.

Senior Shawna Hatfield called the room a “broom closet,” as many others in the crowd could be heard complaining the packed room was a fire hazard.

Caucus business didn’t start until 7:30 p.m. – a half-hour past schedule.

When the caucus-goers in the first classroom were about to start voting on delegates, it quickly became apparent it wouldn’t be possible to facilitate delegate voting while caucus-goers were in two separate rooms.

Straw polls were conducted in the two classrooms and results were combined at about 8 p.m.

After the straw poll, approximately half the crowd left before delegate election.

Druk said he thought the mass exodus occurred because people didn’t understand their straw poll votes were nonbinding.

He said he didn’t think the importance of the delegate selection was conveyed properly by the caucus convener, which contributed to overall disorder.

“I’m sure people were just discouraged,” he said.