Election politics lead to tension, crime on campus

By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 29, 2004

From protesters at the Michael Moore speech to pie throwers at the Ann Coulter speech, students say the election is causing political tensions between students and dividing the campus.

On Oct. 20, a student's window with a Kerry/Edwards poster in it was damaged at Sky View Apartments, 1050 E. Eighth St.

Silke Anderson, political science freshman, said she and her roommate were sleeping when they heard a loud crash at the window around 5:30 a.m.

According to police reports, it looked like someone had shot the window with a BB gun.

Anderson, who has been active in the UA Young Democrats, said she thinks someone must have been aiming at the Kerry/Edwards poster because none of the other windows in the apartment were damaged.

Anderson said she thinks the election is dividing students, especially the Young Democrats and the College Republicans.

"I've heard arguments on the Mall at lunch," she said, "but I think it's good to have constructive criticism."

Anderson said the Young Democrats have placed whatever anger they've been feeling into working harder to get John Kerry elected.

Anderson said after the election she thinks the campus will still be divided because whatever side loses will be very angry.

"If Bush won, I'd be angry, but what can you do about it?" she said.

Another student had her "Viva Bush" bumper sticker scratched out with a black permanent marker.

Elizabeth Clifton, history senior, said she parked her car in Tyndall garage, 880 E. Fourth St., on the morning of Oct. 20 and came back later that afternoon to find the damage to the sticker.

Clifton said she knows the damage was targeted at the Bush sticker because her other bumper stickers were left alone.

"The election has become such a heated issue that it seems that no one is talking the issues out or listening to other people's opinions," she said, "It's not uncommon to see fighting over which candidate is better for the position."

Clifton said she thinks the election has created more student tension than past elections. She said she thinks this is because of the problems of the last presidential election, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Bush administration's the foreign policies.

Clifton said she doubts campus will return to normal after the election.

"There will be recounts demanded by both national parties, and students on campus whose candidate did not win will more than likely not accept the results," she said.

Clifton said if Kerry won the election, she and her fiancÚ would become more politically active against him.

Joshua Kerr, philosophy and communications junior, said the political signs on campus have gotten obnoxious.

"Students seem to be vulgar; they're incapable of conducting themselves in a reasonable matter," he said.

Kerr said he is tired of the booths on campus that are constantly pushing students to vote.

Kerr said the tensions on campus will likely decrease after everyone gets a chance to go home for Christmas break.

Kristen Scheckel, undeclared sophomore, said she's noticed political tensions in her residence hall. She said her resident assistant had her floor make posters for each candidate and have a mock election.

"There was a lot of Bush-bashing," Scheckel said. "There was a lot of hatred, especially from the Bush supporters."

Scheckel said she always hears people in the Student Union Memorial Center talking about the election.

"The Kerry side seems to be more forward with their confrontations, but both sides are really adamant about what they're doing," she said.

Scheckel said she doesn't think the aggressiveness from students on both sides will help them gain supporters.

"It's not useful, it's not going to change the way someone feels," she said.

Melissa Lewis, journalism freshman, said she thinks tensions are strong because each side has strong reasons against the other candidate.

Lewis said she thinks that division on campus will decrease after the election is over and the campus will unite behind the winning candidate.