For the first time since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 visit to the Coliseum for the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, a sitting president is visiting the USC campus.
President Barack Obama’s rally today has been hotly anticipated since rumors of his presence began spreading two weeks ago. Campus is swarming with lighting crews, Secret Service agents and tens of thousands of students, faculty and visitors eager to hear Obama speak.
The event has generated so much chaos and publicity that many students were left wondering whether it would be worth the trouble to arrive at 6 a.m. for the chance of being within earshot of the president’s speech.
Obama came to USC as part of a college tour to address our student body and drum up support for California Democrats. Central to his tour’s purpose is rallying the youth vote in time for November’s election. He is speaking to the community and he is speaking to his constituents, but ultimately, he is speaking to students. Therefore, students should have been granted entrance to the rally before non-USC affiliated visitors.
Coordination between university administrators and the Democratic National Committee should have kept USC students in mind. For example, USC could have proposed a system in which students with a USC ID were allowed access to a student section at the front of Alumni Park.
The chance to be present at a sitting president’s speech is a unique opportunity. For students to hear Obama speak at their own university is all the more remarkable.
Unfortunately, even though students are the target demographic of the campaign that brought Obama to USC, this was not an event that was catered to them. It is disappointing that the USC administration could not have structured the rally in a way that made it more realistic for the highest possible number of USC students to attend.
The next time a world-renowned speaker comes to our school to address us, we should not be lost in the shuffle. Hopefully, the USC student body has the passion and tenacity to not be deterred by long lines and heavy traffic.