The Daily Caller is reporting that the Obama administration has been offering course credit to students through intern programs at a university in Colorado. The internship was offered through the Adams State University but has since been taken down.
The Obama Compaign [sic] Internship (GOVT 279 Presidential Election Internship) will be a 12 week long organizing internship for the Obama Campaign. The program offers high-level campaign organizer training and in-depth involvement in one of the closest and most expensive Presidential races in recent history.
The internship was cancelled apparently due to lack of interest.
The first to report the potentially improper relationship was a blog called CampusReform.org which also noted that there was no comparable internship offered to students to join the Mitt Romney campaign.
Though the school claims that no campaign resources were involved, some are questioning whether campaign laws have been broken.
The course may have been in violation of the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act, which prohibits the use of public resources toward “campaigns involving the nomination, retention, or election of any person to any public office.” Oliver Darcy, the editor at Campus Reform who first reported the story, said the course struck him as a likely violation of state law.
“They are definitely using a few professors at least to help these students with the campaign process, so I don’t understand how it doesn’t use public resources for campaign purposes,” he said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Caller also reports that Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, had already documented previous incidents of direct involvement by the Obama Campaign in the activities of universities.
A senior English professor invited his colleagues to open their classrooms in the weeks ahead to organizers in the Obama campaign. They would first encourage students to register to vote and then, if the instructors were willing, encourage students to volunteer for the Obama campaign.
The professor’s colleagues were informed of this by a memo obtained by Peter Wood in which the professor makes clear how the opportunity came up in the first place.
From the memo:
I’ve been in touch with a couple of campus organizers for the Obama campaign, who have asked me to pass along to all of you a request for access to your classes in the next few weeks. If you were willing, they would send along a volunteer to make a pitch to your students about registering to vote.
If you were willing, the volunteers could also take a couple of extra minutes to see whether they could interest any of your students in volunteering for the Obama campaign themselves.
The professor goes on to imply that helping students register and volunteer for Obama would be “key” to helping counteract voter disenfranchisement, a charge often leveled at the Romney Campaign by the Obama Campaign.
From the memo:
I don’t need to tell you that voter registration is absolutely the key to this election, not least of all in the state of Ohio. (I don’t need to tell you this because it has been made so manifestly plain by those who have been doing their best in several states, including ours, to limit access to the polls in various ways.) I hope you can see your way to helping bump up the voter registration and turnout among this key constituency—our students.
Read the full memo here.
This isn’t the first time that rumblings of Obama attempting to capture young people has made the rounds. In fact, in previous instances they weren’t even asking for volunteers but rather had hoped to require service.
Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously discussed the possibility of 3 months mandatory “civil defense” training for everyone between the ages of 18-25.
Even Michelle Obama hinted at the possibility that the youth would be hit up for work:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed. (emphasis mine)
Peter Wood says “I blew the whistle on an instance of that at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which abruptly canceled a campaign-for-credit offer by some academics at the college. But it turned out that the same thing was going on at other universities.” If true, the scrutiny of public funds provided to universities will need to be examined very closely. One assumes the Mainstream Media will not be up to the task.