Through the coordinated efforts of various student groups and academic departments, UR will soon be graced with an impressive array of speakers, including a number of presidential contenders. The Black Students’ Union, the Department of Political Science, the College Diversity Round Table, the Office of Minority Student Affairs and the Frederick Douglass Institute have all successfully brought UR into the national spotlight by bringing speakers of both high quality and high notoriety. Starting this extraordinary series off tonight will be the first black woman elected to the United States Senate, Carol Moseley Braun. UR’s ability to bring the Senator to campus in the same year she sought the Democratic nomination for president deserves much credit and praise. We hope that students will take advantage of this rare opportunity.Various student groups have also been able to bring former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in late March, a noteworthy figure for his role in trying to obtain third party status for the Green Party.The one thing campus organizations should keep in mind when bringing political speakers to campus, however, is that, as a university, different viewpoints should be represented in its selection. Indeed, just as the Rochester liberal arts education strives to imbue students with an appreciation of diversity, so should these organizations work to seek diversity in attracting speakers. While certainly this semester’s speakers are all worthy ones, conservative speakers seem to be a rare sight on UR’s campus. Extra effort should be made to attract them to campus. While students may disagree with different viewpoints, it is important that the student body at large seek to encourage dialogue so as to listen to and appreciate others’ views. UR should make full use of this unique chance to reflect upon the lessons imparted by those speakers already scheduled to come. We have a chance to turn this university into a true marketplace of ideas.
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