|To the Editor: Candidate says BGSU blocked residence hall visits|
|Written by Terry Krukemyer|
|Wednesday, 22 May 2013 09:07|
"Stifling Student Voting" in the May 9th Sentinel addressed an Ohio House budget amendment that would no longer permit public universities to charge out-of-state tuition if it provided students with proof of local residency documents for voting.
While the issue of voting at the on-campus residence by out-of-state students will be sorted out during the legislative process, those interested in this issue should be aware that local candidates are barred from campaigning directly to these on-campus registered voters at their BGSU residence hall.
Last year while campaigning for County Commissioner for the March primary, I scheduled at least two evenings per week to campaign in BGSU residence halls to personally meet with the 2,000 on-campus student voters.
Accompanied with a student campaign volunteer, residence hall access was prevented by a student worker who informed me that I needed permission to campaign in residence halls from residence hall administration. The next day I called BGSU residence hall administration to get permission but was told that campaigning in residence halls was prohibited because soliciting was a security risk to students.
While I agree with this policy for non-candidates, campaigning is not soliciting; and if I am a security risk, I have no business running for public office. (I have no felony or misdemeanor record, nor have I ever been arrested. I gladly would have granted a background investigation as part of a security check if such scrutiny would have permitted residence hall campaigning.)
Last November 1,858 students voted in the two BGSU precincts. While most of these students' primary reason for voting was for President, BGSU precinct results show only slightly fewer votes were cast for each local race. While students had ample opportunity to gather information about the Presidential candidates, local candidates do not get this exposure and access.
My experiences suggest that many BGSU students, particularly out-of-state and even most out-of-county students, vote in Wood County for local candidates with very little, if any, first-hand knowledge about the local candidate. A college student obtains much more knowledge about a candidate when both can meet and discuss issues important to [young] voters, as is usual and expected with older voters.
With the proposed amendment and discussion of out-of-state students' voting at Ohio's public universities, discussion of these universities preventing local candidates' opportunity to personally campaign to student voters living in residence halls also should be part of the legislative debate.
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