Jake Woodford on Romney visit

Jake Woodford

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge a few things after Governor Romney’s to campus last week.

First of all, the remarks I gave were written purely by me, without prior review by either the Romney campaign or the university. Granted, I was surprised by the opportunity to draft my own remarks, as I had imagined that those things would be more tightly controlled than they were. I tried to use the “2 to 3 minutes” granted by the campaign manager to frame the event for Lawrence. Most importantly, I want to say that even though Lawrence University was hosting Romney, we were not — and nor was I — endorsing his views or candidacy.

As it turned out, I was not alone in my strong desire not to come across as endorsing the candidate. Lawrence University worked very hard with the media to portray the visit as an educational opportunity for students — a goal that, I think, was largely met.

Next, I think it is only fair to address the strong sense of frustration within the student body in the wake of the visit. As time wound down toward the day of the visit, the status of a student seating section was in flux. By the time I became involved, the focus was on the government and economics departments; however, as Thursday wore on, the standards for allowing students into the auditorium relaxed. Unfortunately, there seemed to be little campus-wide communication, and word of mouth prevailed. I know that many students were left out, and that leaves me with a deep sense of regret. That said, I believe honestly that the university did the best it could given the time constraints and the moving target presented by what was, in my estimation, a manipulative campaign team with little regard for the venue.

Finally, I want to express my sincere and overflowing sense of pride in not only the university, but also in my classmates. You were all tremendous. Liberal, conservative, indifferent — you all represented LU amazingly well. From your poised and well-informed comments to the media, to your tasteful protests, to your incredible welcome inside the theater when I took the stage — Lawrence was well served by all of you.

In closing, I hope that I served all of you well. It was an overwhelming experience, and a daunting task to try to represent a place like Lawrence. Thank you all for your support – let’s do it again some time.

Sincerely,

Jake Woodford ’13

President, Lawrence University Community Council

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