All groups, partisan or not, should be allowed to canvass in dorms

Although University Housing has rightly allowed Voice Your Vote to return to the residence halls, University Housing has not dealt with the larger issue still at hand. The University’s policies restricting political activity in the dorms violate students’ First Amendment rights.

As a center of intellectual inquiry, the University should encourage political debate and political speech, not restrict it. By refusing to allow partisan student groups to canvass in the residence halls, the University is violating students’ right to freedom of speech and association. Just like students who live off-campus, dorm residents are free to keep their doors closed or to simply say, “No thanks” to canvassers. And, just like students who live off-campus, dorm residents have the right to knock on their neighbors’ doors on behalf of any candidate they choose.

The University of Michigan should follow Michigan State’s example on this issue and allow political student groups free access to the dorms. Students don’t give up their First Amendment rights at the residence hall door.

We call on University Housing to allow all student political groups, partisan and non-partisan, to exercise their First Amendment rights by canvassing in the dorms.

Bennett Stein, Renagh O’Leary and Amanda Grigg
The letter writers are board members of the University’s undergraduate chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Cartoon belittles voter registration efforts

I didn’t appreciate the cartoon on Monday’s editorial page (09/29/2008), which pictured two students walking quietly so as not to draw attention to themselves and provoke the crowd of voter registration volunteers. Admittedly, it seems incredibly petty to find fault in a cartoon. However, the cartoonist is not the only person on campus with a hostile attitude toward voter registration.

As someone who registers voters on the Diag Monday through Friday, and on the occasional Saturday or Sunday, I can tell you that not everyone on campus is registered. Since welcome week, I have yet to go a day without registering someone. Though I hate annoying people as much as they hate being annoyed, what we’re doing is necessary.

I apologize to those of you who are tired of being asked, “Are you registered?” Take consolation in the fact that we’re almost done. The voter registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 6. And for those people I have not personally accosted with a pen and clipboard, register to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote by next Monday, you won’t have the option of voting this November. I’m willing to annoy and alienate fellow students for just one more week to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to vote.

Rachel Slezak
LSA sophomore

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