Politics

DU College Republicans: The right side of campus

Throughout the slideshow a wide variety of photos are featured. The first photo of the presentation is a snapshot of the DU College Republican homepage. This photo provides an introduction to the presentation. The next few photos range from snapshots around the DU campus, relevant to College Republicans, to photos from Jake Viano’s campaign for city council which members DU Republicans volunteered with in the spring of 2015.

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Students speaking out

This slideshow is showing that DU students do not always agree, and that is expected. More importantly, the slideshow is asking whether or not students feel comfortable speaking in class. Do students feel comfortable expressing their views in a classroom filled with students who may not agree and who may chastise them for speaking out and saying something ignorant or “stupid?”

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Controversy in the classroom

A lot of young men and women use their time in college to search, learn and grow. The classroom becomes a place to explore viewpoints, test opinions and create a dialogue among other students. This is the common notion of the college experience, but does the University of Denver do well to generate such an environment? Do students feel comfortable speaking freely in the classroom, or are the silenced by an atmosphere unwelcoming of candid conversation?

It’s about comfort

Raising a hand and speaking out in class can be difficult, especially on a controversial topic that may condemn the speaker or offend another student. Danny Brown, a junior and Media Studies major, is well known across campus for breaking boundaries and boldly expressing his opinions, no matter how contentious.

DU students don't always agree. The graffiti wall outside of Driscoll shows conflicting viewpoints existing side-by-side.

DU students don’t always agree. The graffiti wall outside of Driscoll shows conflicting viewpoints co-existing on campus.

“I do feel comfortable talking about controversial topics in the classroom,” said Brown. “I have, though, faced much backlash when it comes to this. Once during freshman year, I was in a communication class with about 50 people and the classroom was stadium style so there were a lot of people behind me. I tried to make a point, but due to people disagreeing with me, as well as not being able to make myself clear, about five people started yelling at me for being ignorant.”

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DU’s Culture Fest celebrates diversity

While doing research for my issues story on the lack of racial and ethnic diversity and representation at DU, I discovered on DU’s “Quick Facts” page the Fall 2014 first-year class has only 20.5% students of color, with no further breakdown provided. This compelled me to dig deeper to try to understand what life at DU is like from the perspective of a student of color. I found that while it might be hard sometimes to have your voice heard, there are multiple diverse communities at DU that strengthen and empower these underrepresented student voices. One day that unites and celebrates the many diverse DU student backgrounds, organizations, associations, and alliances on campus is Culture Fest.

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Students for Justice in Palestine and the Native Student Alliance hold vigil

This slideshow is a documentation of the vigil held last week on Driscoll bridge by Students for Justice in Palestine and the Native Student Alliance for the Palestinian villages and Native American tribes destroyed by occupying forces. Through this slideshow, I sought to tell the story of student activists on DU’s campus that are active and visible currently. Student activism is frequently something discussed in past tense as a hallmark of student activity decades ago, but though this presentation, I hope to show that student activism is an integral part of daily life for many DU students.

The vigil was held in conjunction with Holocaust and Genocide Awareness week, a larger event that included other examples of student activism. Hopefully, through this presentation, student activism will be seen as a vibrant and engaging component of the college experience and a way in which students can get involved to make changes to the college status quo.

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Activists on campus tackle student debt

By Kaitlyn Griffith

On Thursday, a group of students from the Denver area met at the Sturm College of Law to discuss student autonomy in Colorado and the state of student loans nationwide.

The University of Denver, Regis University and the Iliff School of Theology were represented.

The red square was first seen in the Quebec student movement.  It originates from the students' demand that their government drop its plans to hike up tuition by 75%, a change which would have put students “squarely in the red” (i.e., in debt). Students in COSPA wear the squares to show solidarity with the Quebec student movement.

The red square was first seen in the Quebec student movement. It originates from the students’ demand that their government drop its plans to hike up tuition by 75%, a change which would have put students “squarely in the red” (i.e., in debt). Students in COSPA wear the squares to show solidarity with the Quebec student movement.

 

The students were members of the Colorado Student Power Alliance (COSPA), a group that seeks to eliminate student debt, democratize schools, reform curriculum and ensure open access to higher education for everyone who needs it.

 

“Students are financially constrained for something they should be allowed to do,” one student said.

To members of COSPA , education isn’t a privilege for the few, but a right of all.

Many issues discussed at the meeting hit close to home for many of the students present. Many fear what might happen if federal and state policy on student loans isn’t drastically altered.

“I don’t want to be my dad,” Elizabeth Borneman, a recent DU graduate, said. “He’s 50 and working in a job he hates.”

Students active in COSPA are aware of the potential pitfalls of trying to reform student loans. They understand that it will be an uphill battle, but many are determined to see this struggle through until the end.

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DU students rock the vote

By Gabrielle Pfafflin and Sarah Ford

In a high turnout election night, DU students flooded the Centennial Halls Polling Center to vote on Tuesday.

From 9 AM in the morning to 7 PM in the evening, students passed through the doorways of Centennial Halls ready to vote and proudly flaunted their “I voted!” stickers upon leaving.

Chalk writing littered the DU campus, shepherding students toward Centennial Halls and reminding them to vote. Campaigners canvassed, called, and drove prospective voters to the polls.

The campus was abuzz with political involvement.

As the evening darkened on Centennial Halls, the DU Dems congregated to pass out free snacks and juice to all students that voted.

As he left the building, DU Graduate, Patrick Morris said, “I’m just glad that I’m here late in the day and there’s still voting.”

However, Campaign Coordinator of the DU Dems, Connor Evenson remained skeptical. He feared that DU has “been a fairly apathetic campus.”

“I think we can get an okay turnout,” He continued, “perhaps 35 or 40 percent, which is less than the normal electorate.”

Alex Johnson of the DU College Republicans disagreed. He claimed that the energy in this election was more palpable for conservative voters than in 2008. Although he expected DU to vote more blue, he elaborated that was not representative of the entire campus or state of Colorado.

When asked why they voted, students offered various reasons. Freshman Gege Sorenson said, “I feel like it’s kind of a privilege and it’s also kind of a duty at the same time.”

Shadi Maalaki offered a similar reason. He said, “It’s my civic duty in this society to vote.”

Learning through experience: SimGov

Room 380 is just like any other classroom in DU’s Sturm Hall: It has a table at the front of the room with a projector screen behind it. Windows line the walls and six half-circle tables make up the sitting area of the tiered classroom.

There’s really nothing remarkable about this room—At least, there’s nothing remarkable about this room until Seth Masket and his American Simulation Government class come in.

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