In response to Samantha Karol’s editorial, “Students’ political apathy misreported by Review,” of last week, I would like to clear up some points that she mentioned.
Much has been made of the Princeton Review designating Quinnipiac as the second most politically apathetic school among small to medium-size colleges and universities in the northeast region.
It is indeed rather frightening that the only school we beat was the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where students are presumably much more concerned with math and engineering than candidates and ballot boxes.
Samantha stated that the criteria used by the Review is unfair and that we as a university did not deserve to be on this list at all, let alone number two.
While it is true, we do have some political groups on campus as she mentioned, and yes, this supposedly was one of the criteria taken into account, Samantha fails to take into account that the membership in these groups when compared to the size of the student body is likely very small.
Three years ago during my freshman year here, I attended an early meeting of the College Republicans. We met in one of the small rooms above the cafeteria, and the room wasn’t even full. If memory serves me right, there weren’t more than 10 people at the meeting, despite extensive advertising beforehand.
I was so disappointed in the turnout and apparent lack of direction that I chose not to attend another meeting. I would venture to guess that similar circumstances apply to the College Democrats. Yes, I’m speaking generally, but these are things to think about when considering our ranking.
Another item to take into account is the interest in writing for this esteemed publication, The Chronicle. At universities where students are very interested in news and politics, one would surmise that there would be a line at the student newspaper door of people wanting to become involved. In other words, there would be more writers than stories and space on the pages.
However, I have seen firsthand that this is not the case here at Quinnipiac. In my two years as Opinion Editor of this newspaper, I can count on one hand the number of times that I received more editorials than I could fit on the pages in a particular week.
More often, it was up to me to either chase people down, write something extra myself, or be forced to print an editorial on a topic so ridiculous that some colleges would laugh if they saw it. To say the least, it was frustrating, and I know other editors had similar experiences.
When I attended a college media convention in Nashville in November 2004, editors from across the country were complaining about how difficult it was to manage their pages due to the overwhelming volume of student involvement. This was an eye-opening experience in that it further showed how different Quinnipiac is from those schools. If you don’t want to write for the newspaper at least once – and I’m not just talking about the Opinion section here – then sorry, you’re apathetic.
There is not necessarily anything wrong with this. Though it is disappointing on some level, it is perfectly fine to be interested in things other than news and politics. There are many other equally important interests and hobbies that people can have and pursue. However, when a ranking such as this Princeton Review one comes out, it is wrong to cry that it’s unfair. Facts are facts.
To those who think it is, in fact, unfair, I urge you to do something about it. Attend a meeting of the College Republicans or Democrats, or one of the other organizations Samantha mentioned in her editorial. Write an editorial for The Chronicle. Contact one of the editors to write for another section. Take a political science or history class. Watch the news once in awhile. Know who’s representing you in the government. Go to the polls and vote this November.
There are endless ways to become more politically knowledgeable and involved. But it is up to each individual person to take action.
Until that day comes, however, I must agree with the Princeton Review that on the whole, Quinnipiac is a rather politically apathetic university.