Students Demonstrate After Candidates Cancel on SSU Debate - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/20/04

Students Demonstrate After Candidates Cancel on SSU Debate

Demonstrators gathered on the steps of the student center. Demonstrators gathered on the steps of the student center.

There's a debate going on at Savannah State University this evening, one of the last before the November 2 election. The problem is, only a few candidates showed up. Today, students let the no-shows know how they felt.

Officially, big names like Max Burns, Johnny Isaakson and Denise Majette say they have scheduling conflicts. But young voters aren't buying it, and they made their point loud and clear.

After two months of planning and date switches, SSU's big debate has been deflated by no-shows. They say Burns, Isaakson, and Majette cancelled.

Senior Sharif Deveau is not impressed. "Both parties gave us nothing. Isaaskon and Majette cancelled, so we have been ignored from both sides."

"I think it is very racist," said Carline Aliotte. She wasn't pulling punches. She thinks the candidates missed a chance to win voters. "We do have black Republicans, black Democrats and blacks who are undecided."

While students demonstrated outside, Max Burns supporters like Robin Wheeler handed out fliers at a booth inside the student center. She says Burns just couldn't make it. "He's not avoiding anybody," she said. "He's got a busy schedule and could not make it."

"The impression we get is there is no schedule which would have fit his schedule," said Deveau. He claims the school changed debate dates to accommodate candidates.

He has a feeling students have been underestimated. "You schedule can be changed and maneuvered to accommodate an event this big," he said.

"They need our vote, they should have come to us," added Aliotte.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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