By Travis Korson, George Washington University
The administration of the George Washington University has become uncomfortably cozy with the Obama administration. The first real evidence for such favoritism appeared with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as the 2009 commencement speaker.
Since then, the relationship has only increased. Beginning this year on September 11, the University held a ‘Freshman day of Service’ and coupled it with a surprise: Michelle Obama’s ‘Service for Speech’ initiative. She decided that if the school completed 100,000 hours of community service, she would be the 2010 commencement speaker. This has cheapened community service on our campus, taking the focus away from helping others and towards the proverbial carrot dangled in front of the students. Needless to say there have been several ‘service’ initiatives launched as well as an online hour reporting system that lacks accountability. Despite the goal being more then 80,000 hours from completion, preparations have already been made to host the First Lady, leading me to believe that she will be coming, no matter what.
This is just one example of our campus over-saturation of the Obamas and their cohorts. Michelle Obama again visited campus on Veterans’ Day, along with Jill Biden, to push their ‘service’ program. A campus group has also hosted Obama official David Plouffe. All these appearances lead me to pose the question; how much is enough? How many times does the First Lady, as well as other Obama partners, need to visit our campus in one year before enough is enough? What about providing another viewpoint to students on this campus?
But this is just part of a larger narrative of speaker bias on the campus of George Washington University. Since 2000 there has only been one conservative commencement speaker, George H.W. Bush, and during the 8 years of the Bush 43 administration not one official spoke at graduation. During the first two years of the Obama administration there have been two administration official commencement speakers, Rahm Emmanuel and now Michelle Obama.
This poses the question, as a campus that advocated for a free discussion of ideas and a balanced education, where is the balance on campus? Just how cozy can the administration get before it is too much?
Travis Korson is the President of the George Washington University Chapter of Young America’s Foundation