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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Administration improves presidential protocol

Published: October 26, 2007
Section: Opinions

Brandeis has been very fortunate over the past year. Among all of the esteemed speakers that have graced our campus, we have been honored with two former U.S. presidents;

last year it was President Jimmy Carter and this upcoming December President Bill Clinton will be here. Yet the circumstances in which these two important speakers will appear is quite different. The Hoot would like to commend the administration with the way they have learned from their past mistakes and are handling Clinton's upcoming appearance.

In stark contrast to President Carter's visit, Clinton's appearance was completely supported by President Reinharz. While The Hoot recognizes that many of Carter's views might have been unpopular to many in the audience, thus making Reinharz hesitant to throw his full support behind the speech, it is a step forward to see our President making this announcement. Rather than the months of controversy and hearsay regarding Carter's visit, Clinton's appearance has never been in question.

The administration is also doing a better job answering questions surrounding the event. Guidelines for the event are neatly laid out on the website for the “Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program Memorial Lecture,” with guides on to how to pick up tickets, what to bring and what not to bring, and eventual details regarding the events webcast. By doing this, the administration has attempted to avoid a lot of the confusion that students might have had about protocol at last year's presidential appearance.

Admittedly, the lottery system being used to disseminate tickets for President Clinton's talk has its pros and cons. This time around, students will not be waiting outside in the cold for hours on end, but instead will be sitting patiently in front of their computers in anticipation of a randomly generated lottery number. This is by no means a perfect system, since many who would have willingly waited hours to be guaranteed a ticket are now at the whim of randomly generated numbers. Unfortunately, not everyone can be pleased. Again alumni are shut out from the appearance of a former President, and students who sign up and can't attend or are only lukewarm about the event could receive tickets, while erstwhile politics majors won't get anything. Yet it is still probably the best way for the system to work smoothly, and certainly requires less money, time and effort on the part of several parties.

Of course, not everything will run perfectly. But it must be stated that the administration is doing the best it can in bringing President Clinton to campus as smoothly as possible.

As Provost Marty Krauss put it in last week's issue of The Hoot, “Its a rare opportunity for our students for one of the most electrifying figures of our generation. I think it will be a wonderful day and an inspiring day. Our campus is lucky to have been allowed yet another opportunity to see a former President, and also lucky that it is being done with much greater ease than before.