Opinion: R-MC perfect setting for VA-07 race

It had been months since Dr. David Brat’s historic defeat against Majority Leader Eric Cantor and months since Dr. Jack’s Trammell announcement of his candidacy.

Randolph-Macon College and the small town of Ashland, VA had been the center of the political universe for long enough and it was time for the voters of Virginia’s seventh district to choose a candidate: Dr. Brat, Dr. Trammell, or James Carr.

In the weeks leading up to the election, the Randolph-Macon students had been interviewed, participated in meet and greets with top politicians, including Senator Tim Kaine, and had the chance to witness a live political debate. While the campus had been buzzing with excitement in the last few months leading up to this historic election, the vibe of Randolph-Macon’s students on Election Day was one you had to witness to believe.

R-MC students and faculty alike had the opportunity to come together and watch as one of their professors was sent to Congress by the voters of the 7th District of Virginia.

The political watch party took place in the Brock Commons and was sponsored by the R-MC Young Democrats, Young Republicans, and the Political Science Student Association. Additionally, many of R-MC’s political science department was present and ready to discuss the outcome of the election with any interested students and other members of the community.

Surrounded by friends and experts, students watched together as the race was called for Dr. Brat and then watched his acceptance speech for the congressional seat. Speaking as one of the few students who stayed at the party until around midnight, I can say it was a one of a kind event. It was truly a pleasure to be able to watch such a historic event with other political science students
and our professors.

The overall atmosphere of the campus and particularly the political watch party attracted national attention as well. All throughout the night, students and professors were talking to various media outlets and pictures were being taken in an attempt to capture this historic election.

An article featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education written by Rebecca Koenig discussed the atmosphere at Randolph-Macon during the election. Dean of Academic Affairs Lauren Bell was quoted in the article as noting the strong “academic dimension” that surrounded the election. President Robert Lindgren added that the election “was a real home run for Randolph-Macon.” Koenig also discussed the bipartisan approach that was surrounding event.

She noted the siting of campaign t-shirts, buttons with both professors’ names on them, and a newspaper filled with informational articles.

Continuing on this trend of the outside media’s notice of the bipartisan role R-MC took in this event, I believe that Randolph-Macon College deserves a round of applause as well for providing an excellent back drop to the exciting event. Not at any point in the last few months did I feel that the college took sides, or pitted the candidates against each other.

They wished both candidates the best of luck and then, rightfully so, stood back and let the campaigns take over. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this historic event during the last few months.

As an institution, the college remained unbiased, but allowed students to not only develop and voice their own opinions in safe environments, but demonstrated that even today, campaigns can still be clean and not everyone must take a side.

It was the political process at its greatest: the political process as it was meant and drawn up to be.

-Becca Ream ’16, Senior Sports Editor

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