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Somebody paid a dear price for Michael Moore?s recent visit to Carnegie Mellon ? you.
The equivalent of someone?s entire tuition was wasted on an event as short in substance as it was on attendance. After canceling his original appearance due to a timely illness, Moore was over 45 minutes late, even on the heels of demanding that the event start 15 minutes earlier than scheduled.
Moore won and Carnegie Mellon students lost. Even so, one can concentrate on the positive aspects of his appearance momentarily. Moore, a wonderful entertainer, put on a great show. It was well articulated, humorous, and had a well-scripted feel to it. Unfortunately, most of Carnegie Mellon was not at the event. Though ?official? numbers state that there were 1200 students at the event, independent (and correct) estimates put the crowd at 450?600 students.
The low attendance was the first failure of the event. The gymnasium was so sparsely filled that organizers began admitting students without tickets even before the event began. The sustained march to spend at least one student?s tuition on the Moore event could not even be slowed by the obvious nature of his visit or a lack of time to properly publicize the rescheduled event. By painting themselves into a corner, and succumbing to Moore?s demands, AB held a hastily put together event, pre-November 2. This column has previously detailed the careless and potentially illegal expenditures of the student activities fee on a speaker whose stated purpose is to ?make Pennsylvania blue.? When looked at in the light of an election year, one can only see an irresponsible expenditure of money and a most negligent event. The failure was to the community and the idea of independent thought.
When confronted on the obvious failures to fulfill their constitutionally outlined duties at the recent forum on Political Speakers, excuses, excuses, and more excuses were all AB had to offer. By attempting to blame their shortcomings in diversity on a lack of student involvement, the AB was simply making a flimsy attempt to shirk responsibility. Later in the forum, AB addressed their more recent ?conservative push?. This push started in mid-September, after the Moore controversy was already starting to heat up. It was stated that no conservative speakers, or libertarians for that matter, would agree to come speak, even though attempts to furnish this request have been made.
The argument that this controversy is exactly what our apathetic campus needs is entirely bogus. Carnegie Mellon needs debate and progress. Our campus does not need a speaker that galvanizes the radicals. The polarization of causes, forcing the fringe groups farther out to their respective sides, is the last thing a devastatingly apathetic centrist population wishes to see. Carnegie Mellon needs responsible groups bringing in a wide range of speakers, not a small range of speakers all with the same political leanings.
Michael Moore used AB to get a political soapbox and a large sum of money from Carnegie Mellon students. One would be happy to know that huge honorarium or not, Moore was uninterested in speaking at Carnegie Mellon after November 2. Moore mentioned to the audience that he was in the process of filming his new documentary attacking private health care and hospitals. The students and universities involved across the country in bringing Moore in to speak at this most crucial time should know that their dollars are being well spent on faux documentary making and partisan politicking.