Many students view themselves as only temporary Philadelphia residents and therefore see no reason to be interested in Philadelphia politics. But a University professor and a local ward leader said yesterday that students may miss a golden opportunity to have an impact on the quality of life for themselves and permanent city residents surrounding them. Kevin Vaughan, the 27th Ward Democratic Leader and a University alumnus, said yesterday that when he was a student, 18-year-olds had just won the vote and therefore political involvement was fairly common. However, the power to vote is no longer a novelty to college students, Vaughan said. "The issues [in general] and certainly the issues surrounding the quality of life around campus are greatly affected by who will be the mayor and the City Council," Vaughan said. He noted that students may feel the impact of new city leadership even more directly than they have in the past if the University is charged user fees for services which the city now provides free of charge. Many of the mayoral candidates and other city leaders have said they will explore the possibility of charging the University and similar tax exempt, non-profit institutions user fees. Harvard University and Yale University currently pay such fees. This may result in higher tuition for students at the University, Vaughan said. This election should be particulary interesting to students because, according to Vaughan, it is "the first . . . in about 25 or 30 years where there was no heir apparent." "It is viewed as many as an opportunity to set a new tone for the city of Philadelphia," he said. Theodore Hershberg, a public policy and history professor, also said this is a "critical" election which will make a difference in the quality of life for residents of the city, including University students. "Anyone who is interested in the long-term viability of the University of Pennsylvania should be interested in what happens to the city of Philadelphia," Hershberg said.Comments powered by Disqus
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