May 2004 (v6 i6)
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Moderate students have political discussion
Middle-of-the-road thinkers tepidly debate opinions
by Chanice Jan, Staff Writer

Poisoning can be an effective and difficult to trace
method of spouse removal
AUSTIN — Somewhere between the clash of the Young Republicans and the University Liberals is a lower-profile student political group, the Campus Centrists (CC), who have recently taken steps to increase awareness of their views and their actual existence.

CC meets twice a month to tentatively lay down their beliefs. Organization members take turns shrugging about gun control, sharing hesitant ideologies on drug legislation, and not being able to decide where to eat afterwards.

CC meetings and other club activities are advertised by a reasonable number of neutral-colored flyers placed sparingly throughout campus. The flyers feature nondescript, medium-sized print and a careful use of the passive voice. They can be distinguished from other club flyers by their complete lack of decisiveness, flashiness, and exclamation marks.

Club founder and current CC president Daniel Coleman, a Business and Anthropology major, ambiguously explains how he came up with the idea to create an organization for middle-of-the-road students.

"When I first arrived at UT, I felt completely bombarded by the loud, extremist propaganda spewing from both the left and the right," said Coleman. "Although I can understand the motivation behind their ear-shattering, guerilla antics, it's not my personal style to be so proactive."

"Not that there's anything wrong with being an irritating, obnoxious fascist," he added. The Centrists held a lukewarm political debate last Tuesday, where different group leaders discussed - not argued - issues such as taxes and freedom of speech. Participants reached a smattering of opinions that served as a consensus.

The subdued talk began with Coleman sharing a few unmoving statements regarding outsourcing. His vice president, Nick Yates, a Plan I/Bassoon/Malayalam major, dissented slightly.

"I disagree 45 percent," claimed Yates. "Our views on the subject are incompletely different."

Audience members were shocked by Yates' faintly audacious comments, but Coleman kept his composure. The CC president nodded in empathy and partially conceded his own views. The two moderates eventually reached a wavering compromise:

"Outsourcing is unfortunate, but sometimes necessary, although being necessary doesn't make it any less unfortunate, nor more so, and Saudi Arabia may or may not be harboring terrorists."

Campus Centrist members are known to send in an occasional unbiased "Firing Line" to the Daily Texan.

Letters from these middle-of-the-road students often have such titles as, "We should not have gone to war with Iraq but I could be wrong," "This is my take on GM foods, but my roommate's take is also acceptable," and "Toxic waste dumps may cause health problems, but they provide jobs for hundreds of cleanup workers."

Next week the group will sponsor their biggest event to date: a semi-pro-life rally on the West Mall.

Unlike other political rallies commonly seen in the free speech area, there will be no megaphones or magnified pictures of mangled unborns, only quiet declarations and inconspicuous picket signs with slogans like "partial-ban abortion," and "IMHO life starts at conception."

In spite of their inherently neutral viewpoints, the organization has still managed to garner animosity from some organizations.

Young Republicans president Jonathan Carver describes the Centrists as a bunch of "closet liberals" and "the political equivalent of bisexuality."

Despite light criticism, CC continues to fill a widespread, ambivalent student political niche.

"I used to feel divided, having to side with either the conservatives or the liberals," testifies new member Katelynn Parsons. "But then I joined the Centrists, and my views changed 135 degrees."

As their presence increases marginally in campus politics, the Campus Centrists plan to mildly assert several more of their stances publicly. Next month, the Centrists will host myriad activities, ranging from not-decidedly-affirmative action bake sales to latently heterosexual confidence rallies.
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