What Others Are Saying

“It’s undemocratic for an educational facility to rent space to political parties and candidates without allowing all of their students to participate. Invitation-only rallies don’t foster learning, debate or democracy-they just create groupthink and give candidates platforms to put forth ideas no one will question. “What’s worse is that when schools sell their spaces to political interests, the administrators have also sold the school’s name and image (that will be documented in news reports, photographs and video tapes) without getting anything in return that benefits their students. They’ve corrupted their students’ ability to protest and question leaders for cash.”
The Columbia Chronicle, a student publication at Columbia College Chicago, 11/26/07

“While students aren’t the only demographic whose interests are being selectively addressed by campaigns, these scripted events have repercussions for the youth vote as a whole. In a moment when young voter participation is on the upswing, it is frustrating to see young voters used as props and pushed into conveniently labeled boxes.”
Cora Currier, The Nation, 11/26/07

The notion that some people might “misbehave,” and that this justifies seven years of shielding the president from being in the same room as Americans who disagree with him, is demonstrably ridiculous.
Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report, 11/20/07

The idea is that on college campuses, politicking must remain an equal-opportunity endeavor. Democrats, Republicans and any other party can’t have a private audience on the Allegheny College campus. Campaign staff won’t like the new policy, but that isn’t the point. Allegheny College will now remain true to its free expression of ideas mission. Sounds like a winner to us.
Erie Times-News, 11/18/07

Allegheny College, a respected liberal arts school in Meadville, Pa., is striking a blow for what might be called democratic authenticity. It is rebelling against the notion that politicians should be able to stage a town hall meeting at a college that is all show and no campus-community participation.
Toledo Blade, 11/15/07

The editorial regarding Allegheny College’s decision to adopt a new policy for distributing tickets to events sponsored by outside groups (Erie Times-News, Nov. 18) shows the college’s tradition of standing for truth and fairness.
Bob Fleming, Louisville, Ky, Letter to the Editor, Erie Times-News, 12/10/07

Holding these debates is not just about promoting the candidate but also about getting the people involved. Students these days, especially younger ones, seem more and more disinterested in politics; holding closed debates only sends the message that a student’s opinions don’t matter.
The New York Times, The Caucus, Posted by Julian, 11/9/07

The very idea of a closed event is insulting politics are supposed to be open and filled with discourse. If a candidate can’t handle a US citizen with different opinions how in the world are they going to handle foreign leaders? Or tough situations? It’s about time someone took a stand against these I hope my school joins.
The New York Times, The Caucus, Posted by Jessica, 11/10/07

It’s our job to keep politicians honest. They can only go as far as we let them. This alliance is a good start.
The New York Times, The Caucus, Posted by Steph, 11/12/07

This type of dirty campaigning should not be tolerated. The Soapbox Alliance will allow open, honest debate from candidates and will eliminate “staged” events. Especially in an academic environment, an intelligent, authentic political discussion is crucial. More colleges should support this movement, and I hope it expands to other organizations and communities as well. Well done, Allegheny College for stepping up and taking charge.
The New York Times, The Caucus, Posted by Ashlee, 11/13/07

Why didn’t someone start this sooner—no one American should be disallowed to see his President or public official whether he agrees or disagrees — these are not dictators, but elected officials of the people?? or any two-bit scam I guess — these closed speaking engagements and stacked audiences that Bush, Cheney and even now Clinton like to use should be abolished. Presidents should not be allowed to spew propaganda with the backdrop of Soldiers either.
ABCNews.com, Posted by paulettec0, 11/20/07

Every college and university in America would do well to follow this policy.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/9/07

The Alliance is one method which I highly hope others will join as it will aid in the promotion of authentic democracy. As politicians continue to gain a reputation of being self-centered, shrewd individuals, this offers a means to abolish the harsh stereotypes and prove that their practices are truly in the best interest of the people.
Civic Engagement Blog, Ian Coyle, 11/11/07

The entire concept of standing on principles is that an individual or institution goes out of their way in some manner to uphold morals or ideals that they have, usually in a way that makes things more complex and difficult. The example here would be that Allegheny College formed the Soapbox Alliance because they felt colleges and universities should promote free exchange of ideas no matter what.
Seth Mercer, Stand on Principle or Fall on Compromise, Blog, 12/2/07