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Valley Focus | Valley Glen

Wachs Urges Students to Give Politics a Try

April 14, 1998|ERIC RIMBERT

Touting the benefits of political involvement, Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs on Monday urged Valley College students to take part in today's campus elections.

"I still believe that the average person can make a difference, and student politics is an excellent way for people to learn that," Wachs, whose district includes the campus, told a crowd of about 50.

Wachs, who ran for office when he was a student at UCLA, told the audience that during the early 1960s, the school administration tried to restrict campus political matters to on-campus subjects only, disallowing talk of Vietnam or civil rights.

That was until students organized and began to protest administration policies, he said.

"It was primarily students that were at the forefront of social change in the 1960s, and you can be too, if you get involved."

The rally was intended to encourage political activism among the student body, which historically has had low participation in campus elections. Out of a student enrollment of 16,000, only about 800 have voted in each of the past three elections.

Candidates for president, vice president and commissioner for political affairs spoke to the audience and took questions about what they would do if elected.

Armen Orujyan, 24, is a candidate for president in today's campus elections and also organized the rally. He said that although most students think politics is a waste of time, there are only positive consequences to being involved.

"I mean, politics are a part of life, and getting involved in them should start here," he said.

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