However, many of you disagreed with me that Obama's visit was a campaign event rather than an official presidential visit. I'm here to make a rebuttal to say that it was, in fact, a campaign event.
First of all, if anyone looked at the president's schedule on the day of the actual event, he/she would have seen the words "no public schedule." This seems odd for UNC students because we all knew on Friday, April 20th that the president was visiting. Even on Tuesday, April 24th, the day of his visit, his schedule was still closed to the public.
Why? Because it was not an official White House event. The event was sponsored by Obama for America.
Why else would Obama visit colleges in North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa? Because they're all in swing states. Because he has to energize the disenchanted college voters. Because he has to suck in all the new voters who weren't able to support him in 2008.
In order to keep college student support, Obama has to preach to the choir and give them what they want to hear - I'm not going to raise your rates.
Obama does this, even though the rate increase would only apply to new student loans.
Current college students won't receive the increased rate; those starting after this year will.
Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have swayed away from this fact in order to appeal to college students. For instance, in his speech in Chapel Hill, Obama asked the students if anyone could "pay an extra $1,000 right now?"
I might also add that at anytime the chancellor of the university introduces a speaker on campus, it's a university-sponsored event. That's exactly what happened at the Obama campaign rally.
Would Mitt Romney be welcomed to UNC by Chancellor Thorp? I seriously doubt it.
In addition, if you look at Obama's campaign website today, you will see a glowing article about UNC Student Body President Will Leinmenstoll.
In my opinion, the student body president, an individual who represents the entire student body, should never be part of a political campaign in which he/she uses his/her title. Never.
Instead of finding another student to appear on Obama's website, the campaign used the student body president to make it appear as if UNC backs Obama. The campaign easily could have picked any of the other 8,000+ students that attended one of the events, but no, they picked Leinmenstoll.
Leinmenstoll does not speak for the entire student body in supporting Barack Obama's possible reelection.
If you were to really examine what increased rates on student loans will actually do, it only amounts to about $50 a month. If a student really cannot afford $50, I suggest less Starbucks and bar jumping. $50 is the equivalent of about 12 drinks from Starbucks (which for some is an underestimate for what they actually consume in a month) or about 8 pints of beer.
Now I'm not totally on board with doubling rates. I'm just putting it into perspective. What I do know is that we have a debt crisis, folks. We've got to find ways to cut government spending and generate revenue. This doesn't mean we need to raise taxes. We've got to be more original than that.
If we really want to talk about lowering the cost to attend college, let's begin a real discussion here at UNC on how we can cut costs.
There's enough waste at UNC that can be cut in order to keep tuition low. We all know it.
Instead of tweeting your members of Congress, why not tweet Holden Thorp and ask him to find significant cuts? Why not write your state legislator and tell him/her where you see cuts that should be made?
The real cost of college boils down to the states. They make the tuition decisions. This increase in student loan interest rates is being used as nothing more than a campaign tool.
The economy is the real problem our candidates for president need to be concerned with. Finding jobs for college graduates; that's the challenge.