Students hoping to catch a glimpse of Vice President Dick Cheney when he visits campus next month may end up being left out in the cold.
Cheney will be coming to Penn next month as part of the dedication ceremony for the newly constructed Huntsman Hall. But students will not be invited to hear the vice president speak.
According to Wharton spokeswoman Meghan Laska, Cheney's address is a private event to honor Jon Huntsman -- the 1959 Wharton graduate who donated heavily towards the construction of the new building.
"Vice President Cheney was invited by Mr. Huntsman and his family, and was not invited in any official capacity by Wharton or the University," Laska stated.
According to Laska, the speech will be attended by Huntsman's family and friends, members of Wharton's Board of Overseers, the deans of all of Penn's schools, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and University President Judith Rodin. Students and faculty will not be allowed to attend.
"Vice President Cheney's schedule did not permit him to be available during the public part of the celebration," Laska said. She added that there has been a request to the vice president's office to allow a simulcast of the speech, but Penn has not heard back yet.
Despite being excluded, though, various students are still hoping to take advantage of the vice president's visit.
College Republicans Chairman David Copley seemed disappointed to hear that Cheney's address was closed to students, but he has resigned himself to the news.
"We understand that he's extremely busy helping the president run the country and is doing this as a favor to Huntsman," the Wharton sophomore said.
Copley added that the College Republicans have sent a memo to the vice president's office requesting a brief address to students after the ceremony, but so far, they have been told that it is uncertain whether there would be time, given Cheney's tight schedule.
"It doesn't send a positive message when the University has an opening for a building for the students and doesn't invite students," Penn College Democrats President Arshad Hasan said.
"It's a shame that Cheney can't come and speak about more current issues," said Cheryl Isaac, a College senior and on-campus chairwoman of the College Democrats.
For some, however, the inability to attend the address will not be a total waste of Cheney's presence on campus.
"It's great that he's coming, because it gives us an opportunity to voice our dissatisfaction with the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration," Hasan said.
According to Hasan, a College senior, the College Democrats are currently in the process of figuring out a way to react to Cheney's presence, but are waiting for more logistical information until making definite plans.
Recently, anti-war and anti-Bush administration protests have sprung up around various college campuses like the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Kansas, where students reacted negatively to Cheney's visit, during which he endorsed a local political candidate.
Though Cheney will not be addressing political issues, Hasan said he feels that the vice president's presence on campus will at least provide an opportunity for the College Democrats -- and, he hopes, other groups -- to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions of the administration.
"The Bush administration has been unfriendly to a number of groups," Hasan said, adding that he hopes to involve several of the groups on campus such as Penn for Peace and women and environmental groups.
Cheney's private appearance on campus is just a small part of Wharton's weekend-long celebration to honor the opening of Huntsman Hall.
The formal dedication of the building, located on 38th and Walnut streets, will occur at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25.
This event will be open to the entire University community, unlike the Cheney speech, according to Wharton spokesman Mike Baltes.
Following the dedication, Huntsman Hall will hold an open house until 9 p.m. A full day's worth of activities will also be held at Huntsman Hall on Saturday Oct. 26.Comments powered by Disqus
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