But first, the necessary quotation from Bob Dylan: "But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." In context:
While preachers preach of evil fatesYes, wait while we blast political polemic that drowns out the classrooms....
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar platesHope you made it through security...
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United StatesAnd you know that Bob Dylan wouldn't be "all cheesin' and grinnin'" with the President.
Sometimes must have to stand naked
Now, back to the Dan Barry analysis:
[T]he event would be a kickoff rally for Democrats as they approach the midterm elections, and Barack Obama would be appearing as a party leader more than as a president....
[H]is visit wasn’t an easy call. Before the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and the Democratic National Committee signed a contract last week, in which the committee agreed to pay $10,500 to cover expenses, [UW Chancellor Biddy] Martin had to satisfy herself that it was the right thing to do.$10,500! Where did they pull that number from?
“There was never a question whether we wanted President Obama to come to our campus,” Ms. Martin said. “That was clear. But the question was how to do this in a way that was fair to everyone in the community.”...Ah, yes! The publicity. That's what seals it, don't you think?
Ms. Martin, who has been chancellor since September 2008, was thrilled by the chance. You couldn’t buy this kind of educational experience, or, quite frankly, this kind of publicity; it’s an honor.
But she worried about the fairness of having campus life disrupted by a political event. A day or so of fretting followed.If there's one thing I love it's a written policy. Good thing "someone uncovered" it!
Then, amid the many documents and manuals that provide guidance in the administration of a campus of 42,000 students and 21,000 faculty and staff members, someone uncovered a written policy called “The Use of University Facilities for Political Purposes.” Among other things, it said that each major political party can hold one event on campus during an election period.
And don’t forget: Library Mall, where the Democrats wanted to hold their rally, is a vibrant nerve center for the university and the city, with a rich tradition of political events and free speech.And the great thing about a vibrant free speech forum is the way a political party can block every entrance but one and then require you to go through a "security" process that includes taking away any signs you might have.
Ms. Martin and the Board of Regents signed on, then received validation of that decision in the plans of students and faculty members to gather after the political rally to debate everything from the economy and the wars to the political process itself.That explains this sign we saw: