The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

Not good enough

By not changing the facility-use policy to allow for door-to-door voter registration efforts, University administrators have failed students.

It was a relatively brief statement that came toward the end of a campuswide e-mail: "After thorough discussion, our concern for student safety and privacy in residence halls has led us to decide to maintain the current policy."

But, Chancellor Moeser, that statement - which basically ends the prospect of door-to-door voter registration in campus residence halls - speaks volumes.

Apparently, UNC officials aren't willing to rise above the mediocrity that has infected university administrations nationwide in terms of getting students to register and vote. Including registration forms in welcome packets, making them available in numerous on-campus locations and allowing groups to set up registration tables combine to represent a "good-faith effort."

They make up a nice, passive approach, but dorm-storming has proven to be an effective means of getting through to students. With all due respect, you are wrong to deprive activist students of this method.

Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy. It is a way in which every U.S. citizen of age, excepting some convicted felons, can have a say in how his or her town, city, state and nation are run.

If going door-to-door to register students to vote constitutes an annoyance, then is holding our elected officials accountable for their actions harassment?

If registering voters in the residence halls constitutes a potential safety breach, then University officials should ensure that registration workers go through the same procedures that dorm-storming student body president candidates must undertake to get on the ballot.

If it constitutes an invasion of privacy, then so be it. The potential to bring about just one extra student vote has more value than a few minutes of lost study time. It has more value than a brief period of uninterrupted sleep. And, frankly, with respect to students' privacy, it is worth their being bothered. Their privacy rights and their right to vote spring from the same democratic foundation.

You made the statement, chancellor.

Now, it's time for this editorial board - and students across this campus - to urge you and other administrators to take it back.

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