Campus Voices: Protesters vs. Organizers

A look at both sides of Tuesday's protest.

This is an Official Arrest Warrant for Karl Rove

Tuesday night was a travesty. A fugitive from the law snuck onto our otherwise safe campus, took part in a clandestine meeting and was then able to escape into the dead of night. For those not in the know, that night the College Republicans hosted White House Chief Political Officer Karl Rove in a secretive closed event.

Upon learning of this dangerous criminal coming to our campus, a group of us concerned students banded together and decided that we would make this world safer for everyone. We would arrest this fugitive. The plan was hatched for us to peacefully detain Mr. Rove until the proper authorities could arrive on the scene and escort him to the slammer.

A lot of folks on the left throw the term criminal around pretty carelessly; let me not be one of those. I would like to explain the charge that we, the deputy sheriffs of AU, brought against Mr. Rove. Since 1978, when the Presidential Records Act (PRA) was passed, the communications of White House officials (e-mail included) has been public property, which is archived by the Office of Records Management.

However, starting in 2004, officials in the White House (Mr. Rove included) bypassed the PRA by operating on their own private e-mail addresses. It has been reported in The Washington Post that Mr. Rove conducts roughly 95 percent of his e-mailing on his new private, unaccountable e-mail address. These e-mails are not public property, as the PRA requires, and are instead stored on a server owned by the Republican National Committee

In short: Karl Rove breaks federal law every time he sends an e-mail.

Now, let me elaborate on the events of Tuesday night. There have been a lot of accusations made by both sides, and I feel it is time to set the record straight. After Mr. Rove's secretive meeting in the depths of Ward, our ragtag band of self-appointed deputy sheriffs attempted to place the fugitive under citizen's arrest. Being the slippery eel that he is, he managed to slip through our fingers and into his getaway car.

All was not lost, however. Campus and Metro Police were swarming. All we had to do was prevent his escape! Twenty daring deputy sheriffs dove in the path of Mr. Rove's getaway car, halting his escape. This would provide just enough time for the proper authorities to place him under arrest. Sadly, it was not to be.

To the best of my understanding, the officers were presented with quite a pickle. Should they save the innocents from the path of the madman's car, or do they bust the bad guy? It's a tough call, and one that nearly every hero must face at one point or another. They opted to drag our deputy sheriffs to safety at the cost of arresting Karl Rove. While I'm disappointed that this criminal mastermind is out there, free as a bird, sending as many illegal e-mails as he pleases, I can at least sleep soundly knowing no one was run over. Thank you, Public Safety and Metro Police.

Let me end by saying, Karl Rove, wherever you are, you may have won this round, but one day justice will catch up with you. You can't keep running forever. Please, just turn yourself in.

Matt Kent Junior, SPA

This Is What Hypocrisy Looks Like

The events after White House adviser Karl Rove's speech Tuesday night were both egregious and saddening. The man who is arguably the top political strategist of his generation graciously agreed to speak at AU, an honor given to barely any other college in America. Mr. Rove's talk was open, frank and enlightening. Unfortunately, the actions of some of my fellow students were not.

When we began making arrangements for Mr. Rove to speak on campus we knew there would be some people against it, but that is part and parcel of being in Washington. For a campus that calls on people to be tolerant and open-minded, I saw behavior that was anything but. Students tried to block their fellow students from entering Ward 1 to hear Mr. Rove, and were not very respectful toward Public Safety. You could say they were mini George Wallaces standing at the schoolhouse door, trying to force their view of what is acceptable on others.

It is unfortunate that the "leadership" of the College Democrats chose to help foment and encourage the violent and intrusive protest. Since they never have events anymore I guess they have to come to ours, but perhaps they should work on learning to run a club instead of trying to thwart others.

While we are on the subject of clubs, Josh Goodman, chair of the AU Club Council, has some explaining to do. His job is to help clubs get money and advocate for them. His job is not to actively engage in conduct that seeks to undermine a club and an on-campus event. I hope the Undergraduate Senate will seriously look into his behavior and take the appropriate actions.

On behalf of the College Republicans and our guests, I would like to thank Public Safety and the Secret Service for handling the security situation so well. They were very helpful every step of the way, especially in making sure our members were able to take their seats, and ensuring that Mr. Rove's speech went uninterrupted. For that we are very grateful and cannot thank them enough.

The administration here at AU cannot ignore what happened Tuesday night, either. Students were completely out of line and likely broke the law by striking a Secret Service agent. When Public Safety is able to identify students who disobeyed orders or were violent, the administration should strongly back them up when it comes time for punishment. This must not be swept under the rug, but must be dealt with so that the university's reputation does not suffer needlessly at the hands of out-of-control students. Images are powerful, and the image of AU that went out on the airwaves and Internet after last night do not reflect the image of American University that I want to be in the public's mind when they think of us.

Seth Johnson Secretary, College Republicans

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle