Meadville Tribune

Local News

November 2, 2007

Allegheny rethinks political participation policy

11/2/07 — Less than a month before the 2004 presidential election, Vice President Dick Cheney made a campaign visit to Meadville for a communitywide rally on the Allegheny College campus. To the dismay of many observers, it was not a pretty scene.

The Oct. 13, 2004, event fueled high political unrest, and the college’s upper Highland Avenue area became a scene of hundreds of suddenly rowdy protesters. Extra police were positioned, amid fears of potential violence among the crowds, who were shouting and holding signs and banners.

The scenes outside may have been threatening to some individuals, however, across the street, comfortably inside Allegheny’s David V. Wise Fitness and Sports Center, Cheney was delivering an invitation-only, town-hall-style meeting to an audience of 600 supporters.

That was the rub. Particularly for supporters of the John Kerry-John Edwards presidential ticket, the problem was not that a high-ranking political rival was across the street; it was that they were locked out, not welcome to hear what he had to say.

Allegheny professor Daniel Shea, nationally respected scholar and founder of Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation, said that “allowing the vice president to use our facilities (for that style of event) was a mistake.” However, Shea added that closed campaigns have occurred with candidates in both Republican and Democratic parties.

And now, three years later, the private, liberal arts college of approximately 2,000 undergraduate students has established a new political participation policy. And, beyond that, the college is encouraging others to join its initiative. The effort has led to the creation of a “Soapbox Alliance,” a coalition of institutions that either have an open campaign-event policy or have pledged to work toward the goal of establishing an open-event policy by Sept. 1, 2008.

Monday at 10 a.m., an Allegheny-based news conference will push forward the alliance’s goals.

Text Only
Local News
Business Marquee
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks