Ball State Courts Candidates

This story was written by Beth Wang, Daily News
With the Indiana primary election a little more than a month away, Ball State University and Muncie have been working together to bring more political candidates to the city.

Tom Morrison, Vice President of Business Affairs for Ball State, said the university and the city work together on visits from political candidates for jobs such as providing security, gathering equipment and finding venues.

"We kind of work as one. We are very supportive of this," Morrison said. "We understand it's not necessarily about them coming to the campus; it's about them coming to the community as a whole, and we want to be as supportive as possible."

Morrison said his office contacted the Democratic and Republican state parties about a month or two ago and let them know the university was open to visits from the candidates. Once the university talks to the campaigns, there is no more contact until a candidate decides to visit.

"They are firmly aware that the university exists and that we have venues that are very good for these types of visits, so we don't need to continue to contact," he said. "What they're doing is they're trying to get people to vote and go for their candidate. Talking to us is not their primary priority."

Morrison said these events are good for the students and the university community.

"Muncie and Ball State haven't seen a candidate in 40 years just because of the timing of the primaries," he said. "So this is one of those things that certainly hasn't happened in many of our lifetimes, and we're very pleased it's happening this year."

Morrison said he would like to have more political figures visit Muncie and Ball State.

"We have extended that invitation, and we certainly hope that any and all of the candidates will come to the university or come to Muncie," Morrison said. "We think it's a very good thing for the students to get to see this process play out."

Indiana State Rep. Dennis Tyler said he spoke with Barack Obama's Indiana campaign coordinator and is confident the Illinois senator will visit Muncie.

"I think that as this thing has picked up momentum across the nation, more and more states have come into play, and it's pretty evident now that Indiana is very important to not only Sen. Clinton but to Sen. Obama," Tyler said. "So, I say with [Clinton] opening up a headquarters here and Sen. Obama is opening up a headquarters ... it's going to be pretty exciting for Delaware County."

Tyler also said he would not be surprised if John McCain tours Indiana with the governor after the primary elections.

Nathan Ashworth, a Ball State junior and chapter coordinator of Ball State University Students for Barack Obama, said the group is concerned with registering people to vote.

The organization is trying to establish a grassroots movement in Muncie to support Obama, Ashworth said.

"As more and more people come out then they can get people like their friends, their parents, whatever, to sit down and to really think about their political views and whether or not they support Obama," he said. "And once we get that established, then we will hopefully get Barack coming to Muncie."

Ashworth said he has not received any official information about whether Obama will visit Muncie, but he thinks it is likely.

Travis Schilla, organizer for Students for Hillary Clinton, said both Chelsea and Hillary Clinton visiting Muncie was more than he could have asked for, and he would like to see Obama visit as well.

"Obviously, I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I'm a Democrat first, through and through," Schilla said. "So, I mean, anything that can come to Muncie to get people inspired and get them active and get them going ot and doing what they're supposed to be doing, anything that can do that is just what we need."

Tyler said people should take the opportunity to see candidates when they visit.

"Whether you support [Clinton] or you support Obama, you need to see them because it may never happen again," Tyler said. "It may only happen once, maybe twice in your lifetime. It is something to be able to get that close to them and feel like you're really being a part of something."
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