U mostly absent from RNC festivities

Despite thousands of people flooding in from out of town to participate in the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, the University did little to utilize its resources on both the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. Aside from Sen. Joe LiebermanâÄôs visit to the Humphrey Institute Wednesday, the University has had little involvement in the RNC festivities. The University News Service website outlines a guide for RNC media with only four linked events on campus. The main event, âÄúAmericaâÄôs Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican Convention,âÄù is a four-day series of forums being held at the Cowles Auditorium and put on by the Humphrey Institute. The forums offer political analysis and discussion on various issues with many organizations involved. The Lieberman visit was a surprise and wasnâÄôt really planned as part of the series originally. But the only other on-campus venue that hosted an RNC-related event is the McNamara Alumni Center, which held a private party on Tuesday, according to event organizers. A University official noted that because many University police officers are volunteering themselves at the Xcel Energy Center, hosting more events on campus would have not been feasible due to a lack of security. Whatever the excuses, the University is a public, academic institution and should encourage students to engage in government through the means of a political convention during an exciting election year. The University has many spacious venues that could have easily hosted more events. And being foundation of intellectual dialogue the University could have educated many incoming students who have never engaged in politics or even have had a chance to vote. The first week of classes is not even a considerable excuse. The University not providing ways for citizens to engage in politics is a disservice to students and the entire University community.