By Sara Karlovitch
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I) reaffirmed his support for Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5) at “Get With The Times” rally hosted by the New York Times on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The event took place in The Clarice Performing Arts Center and was free for this university’s students and was meant to raise voter turnout among young people.
Ellison was accused of physical and verbal abuse by his former girlfriend Karen Monahan. Monahan said he dragged her off of a bed and cursed at her in 2016. He is currently running for attorney general of Minnesota.
Sanders said her claims have not been substantiated.
“She had made her case that she had a video that documented this alleged abuse, but she refuses to make that public,” Sanders said.
Alex Burns, A New York Times National Political Correspondent and monitor of the event, asked him if everyone had a right to be believed.
“Of course everybody has a right to be believed and then what we need to do is take a hard look at the evidence and that’s what we’re trying to do with Kavanaugh, for example,” Sanders said.
Sander’s reaffirmation came after he said the United States needed a “culture change” when it comes to sexual assault.
“It disgusts me beyond words that when Dr. Ford came forward, with great courage, to tell her story… that just the other day we have a president of the United States who actually mocked her, made fun of her,” Sanders said.“We want them to feel confident that they can come forward and tell their stories and get justice.”
However, not everyone saw Sander’s sentiment as genuine. Student Government Association President Jonathan Allen stated he saw Sander’s endorsement as hypocritical.
“All he had to say was that his staff is investigating the claims and they’re concerned about it, but he took the route of staying by his side and if we’re gonna focus on this issue on one end, that’s just another instance of a politician being hypocritical,” Allen said.
Allen, however, pointed out that this wasn’t the point of the event, which was focused on voter registration and turning out to vote in the November election.
“It was mobilizing my generation and my peers to vote and so I’m happy he did do that and I’m happy that everyone or a majority of the room was registered and I hope they’re now energized to go on campus and register the 30,000 undergraduates that we have here to vote,” Allen said.
Not everyone saw Sander’s statement as disingenuous. Trinity Cyrus, a sophomore marketing major, “I haven’t seen the dispute from her, the accuser’s lawyers. I don’t want to necessarily speak on that until I do more research myself.
Besides talking about the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh confirmation, Sanders touched on the Amazon decision to start paying their employees $15 an hour, climate change, and the youth getting out to vote. Sanders also answered a number of prescreened audience questions from students who were in there in person and those who submitted questions over video.
Hannah Brockway, a senior multi-platform journalism major, was one of the students who got to ask a question. Brockway is also the senior features editor for HerCampus, a national website that co-hosted the event. She asked about climate change.
“I definitely think that climate change is one of the biggest issues that we’re facing today in the fact that that was the first thing he said really resonated with me,” Brockway said.
Brockway said she was impressed with the event as a whole and was happy the New York Times was reaching out to young people.
“It’s targeting all of the college students that I really think should be their main goal, especially with a new generation coming along that is going to need news and I think that’s super important and they should be getting that from verified sources instead of twitter and social media,” Brockway said.
At the event, everyone in attendance got a free trial subscription to The New York Times.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lehigh Vogel / The New York Times.
Sara Karlovitch is a junior journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.