Fall semester is underway at college campuses in the Rogue Valley, and politics is everywhere you look. Voter registration drives and voter education seminars are front and center at the student unions of Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University.
Students who want to explore politics on campus have different avenues available.
At Rogue Community College in Medford, Michael Surgeon registered a Democratic Party Club through the student union. He holds monthly meetings where party positions and ideas are discussed. Students look at national issues like the Kavanaugh appointment. Surgeon says, “I know he’s been accused by two women, one when he was a teenager, he was accused of that and then he was accused of another incident of exposing himself at a New Year's Eve party. Both are very disturbing and I hope they can testify and we can come to the bottom of this. if it is true, then I would not want to see him him to be a Supreme Court justice.”
Alexis Phillips, student body president at Southern Oregon University, suggested campus resources for students who need help coping with the disturbing events discussed on the Senate floor.
"Say a student is shaken by what's happened or like the different news that are coming out, ensuring students know about the different resources that they have and support that they have, if something comes about that makes them feel that they aren’t safe here, or if they just need someone to talk to about what's happening and help them process, a big part of student government is making sure that students know what resources they have on our campus."
Voter education and registration drives are just part of the work for Phillips and her team. "We do so much more than voter registration. It's lobbying at the capital, we speak with legislators, taking folks to conferences, becoming better student leaders. It's a big opportunity to say, I was super engaged at this professional level doing professional level work, and working with university administration and the board of trustees as well.”
Michael Surgeon, who also serves as director of clubs at RCC, offered a lesson from his study of the Kavanaugh hearings. "I think it's important that every woman's story is heard. I think that we’ve had to deal with so much of people not believing women, and women being mocked. It's important to hear her story. We need to get to the bottom of this, and ensure that every voice is heard."