Following news reports this weekend that virtually no tickets to the October 28th Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado's Boulder campus will be made available to University of Colorado students, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, condemned the Republican Party's misuse of CU's name and reputation for staged political theater.
"It's outrageous that the Republican Party has chosen to shut University of Colorado students out of the October presidential debate on their own campus," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "The Republican Party is partnering with the University of Colorado to host this debate, co-opting the good name of Colorado's flagship university to provide a forum for Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and the rest of the GOP's out-of-touch presidential candidates. Now we know that the GOP is afraid to let anyone but a hand-picked audience see them."
The Boulder Daily Camera reported Friday that although the University of Colorado's Coors Events Center seats over 11,000 people, only 1,000 tickets would be issued for the October 28th presidential debate. The University of Colorado has reportedly been allotted only 50 tickets for distribution to CU faculty and students.
"What is the Republican National Committee so afraid of that they have to lock the CU student body out of this debate?" asked Runyon-Harms. "A hand-picked audience clapping politely at the Coors Events Center while Donald Trump insults women and Ben Carson insults Muslims would be an insult to the intelligence of every University of Colorado student. The millions of viewers watching this debate deserve to see and hear how real people respond to these presidential candidates. Anything less is worthless political theater, and a misuse of the University of Colorado's reputation for open and accessible dialogue."
"Limiting the debate audience to 1,000 hand-picked Republican Party loyalists in a forum designed to seat 11,000 students is unacceptable," said Runyon-Harms. "To protect the reputation of the University of Colorado for intellectual honesty, we once again call on the Republican National Committee and the University of Colorado to make 50% of the seats at this debate available to CU students."
"There's plenty of room," said Runyon-Harms. "All that's needed is some backbone."