Students at Northland College went to the polls on Wednesday, May 2, to vote on a campus referendum on the Iraq war. The question on the ballot was a simple one, "Do you support the current war in Iraq?" Of the 123 students who voted, only 18 voted "yes", while 105 voted "no" - a resounding anti-war vote.
Northland College has now joined the ranks of a growning number of campuses around the country that have held similar referendums, and gotten an anti-war answer.
The referendum was held in the Northland College Ponzio Student Center, and students had the whole day to vote. According to Julia DeFranco, a Northland student and volunteer poll watcher, the whole process "went smoothly".
The Northland College Student Association sponsored the referendum. It was held to gage the campus community's views on this important topic. With more and more Americans passionately debating the pros and cons of the war, organizers wanted to give students a chance to add their voices to the debate.
While the ballots used in the referendum were a simple "yes" or "no" ballot, space was also provided for voters to write comments. Typical of the comments written were the following:
"I don't support President Bush's indecisiveness and lack of responsibility, but I support completely our troops" and "It is a war that involves a complicated history of which our Presient does not have enough understanding. It is a war that cannot be won!"
This referendum comes at the same time as students on other area campuses are also organizing against the war. All this week, for example, students at the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota-Duluth are holding a week long fast for peace.
And here in Ashland, students and other activists are planning on following up the anti-war vote with a march and rally that'll be held this Saturday, May 5. The protest is being held to celebrate the vote, and to call on Bush to withdraw the troops from Iraq now. The assembly point for the march is the parking lot of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. From there protesters will leave at 3pm for a march to the Band Shell, where there'll be a 4pm rally with speakers, music, poetry and more. This Saturday's protest is sponsored by the Northland Anti-War Coalition.
For more info on the referendum, or on this Saturday's protest, you can contact Reena Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org