I would like to address this column to the members of the Williams community who as a whole are now supporters of Alan Keyes for President. Keyes will be coming here next month to speak to the campus courtesy of the efforts of the Garfield Republican Club. Though I am opposed to almost everything Keyes stands for, usually I would be in favor the expanded dialogue he brings to campus. Under the current circumstances, however, I must oppose his coming.
Keyes has formed a Presidential Exploratory Commission. What this means is that he is looking to find out if there is enough support for him to run for the presidency. In general, no one forms an exploratory commission unless he or she intends to run. Further, the formation of this commission also permits Keyes to begin raising funds for his campaign. That is what he will be doing when he comes here.
College Council recently appropriated $3,500 as an honorarium in order to have Keyes speak. This money is in addition to other moneys put up by the College. More importantly, this money comes directly from the students in the form of the Student Activities Tax. The Council has spent your money to make a political contribution. This is expressly forbidden by the College Council Constitution.
Now, the Garfield Republican Club and other supporters of Keyes will tell you a different story. They’ll first tell you that Keyes is not a candidate for the presidency. He has merely formed this exploratory commission and cannot even declare for some time. That may be technically true, however I think we should be concerned with whether this action is right rather than technically legal, though I believe it is neither. Whom are we fooling? Keyes will run for the presidency. There is no doubt in my mind nor in the mind of any in the know. He just is not allowed to say it formally yet. The formation of his commission, though, allows him to begin raising money. In essence, though he may not formally be able to announce his candidacy he can begin raising money for that candidacy and is. That’s what he is doing here. He is raising money for his campaign and you and I are footing the bill.
Secondly, they’re going to tell you that this money isn’t going to Keyes. They’ll tell you that it goes to the Young America’s Foundation which they’ll say is a non-profit organization that arranges speakers for campuses all over the country. What they won’t tell you is that the Young America’s Foundation is what is called a speaker’s bureau. It acts as a sort of matchmaker between speakers and campuses. Yes, our check will be made out to the Young America’s Foundation, but then the Young America’s Foundation will make out a check of the same amount, minus their brokerage fee, to Keyes. The Young America’s Foundation is just a middleman. Our contribution will get there. Fear not.
Lastly, and this is the best one, they’ll tell you that, well, so what. Wouldn’t it be great to have a presidential candidate come to campus? This is truly funny. First off, they’ve just admitted that Keyes is a candidate. Secondly, well, of course it would be great to have a candidate come to campus, but that’s not the issue. The point is that you’re forcing people to contribute to a campaign that they may not believe in and, in fact, that I’m willing to wager most would oppose. It’s that simple.
There are plenty of reasons to oppose Keyes’ coming to campus. The fact that he preaches rabidly against homosexuals and that he seeks to integrate his church into our state are just two. However, the most important reason not to have him come is because he is a candidate for office. Remember that above all else.
You are funding his campaign. College Council has violated its own constitution by appropriating this money. This cannot and should not be tolerated. Both others and myself made a motion at the last meeting of the Council to have this money removed from the budget, but we lost 13-15. If you agree with what I’ve written, please let your representatives know and attend the College Council meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 in Griffin 4. This is not right.