In response to an event sponsored last week by the University chapter of the College Republicans called “Hillary Clinton Exposed,” we – as leaders of the College Democrats and campus groups for Joe Biden, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – wish to express our deep disappointment. With more than a year until the general election, and months before the Democratic Party selects its presidential nominee, the College Republicans have already begun the distasteful practice of smearing a candidate by sponsoring an event that was rife with character attacks.

Since the formation of our groups, we have been working to engage students in productive and informative political dialogue. All of our groups have held mass meetings, highlighting the achievements and future plans of our candidates. We were all disgusted to see the College Republicans lower the bar of political discussion on campus so much by their sponsorship of that disgraceful event.

Last Thursday, the College Democrats hosted a candidate forum focusing on the issues and featuring representatives from student groups supporting several different Democratic candidates. That event sent a clear message: This campus is eager to distance itself from petty politics and begin discussing the issues and the presidential candidates in a meaningful and positive way.

As campus leaders, we feel obligated to bring honest and factual information to the student body. We want students to support our candidates because of their strengths and plans for the future.

We urge the College Republicans to educate their members and the rest of campus about the Republican candidates. Why spend time attacking a Democratic primary candidate?

This 2008 election promises to be one of the most exciting in recent history. The potential for history to be made, by both Republicans and Democrats, is unprecedented. There are countless ways to capitalize on the excitement this election is certain to bring, but attacking an opposing candidate’s character should not be one of them.

This campus can count on us to continue their positive and informative campaigning with a focus on involving and educating students. We will continue to provide numerous ways to get involved and gain hands-on experience with presidential campaigns. We challenge the College Republicans to do the same.

Sam Harper is the chair of the University chapter of the College Democrats. Kelly Bernero is the chair of the University chapter of Students for Hillary. Tom Duvall is the chair of the University chapter of Students for Obama. Travis Radina is the chair of the University chapter of Students for Edwards. Justin Schon is the chair of the University chapter of Students for Biden.

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