By Jess Nocera
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown’s name may sound familiar around this university from his campaign for students’ votes over the last few weeks. As Election Day begins Nov. 4, Brown will soon see if his hard work has paid off.
Nearly 1,000 university students and supporters rallied in Ritchie Coliseum on Oct. 30 to hear Lt. Gov. Brown, his running mate Ken Ulman and former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton speak on behalf of Brown’s gubernatorial campaign.Hillary Clinton rallies for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown
Other noted speakers included Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, state Sen. Brian Frosh, Rep. Steny Hoyer, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
The rally line started forming hours before the doors to Ritchie even opened.
“I’m a huge advocate of women in politics,” said Michael Biondi, a freshman government and politics major. “I love [Clinton’s] stance on woman issues.”
Students were not the only ones ecstatic to see Clinton, as many other supporters joined the lines early.
“[I’m a] big fan of Hillary,” said Cheryl Kagan, nominee for Democratic State Senate. “In 2007, I drove to Iowa to campaign in Cedar Rapids in subzero temperature and worked the Iowa caucuses for her.”
Kagan is also in the process of organizing “a Hillary event” in Maryland on Dec. 4, marking Clinton’s first big event since the 2014 election.
Even with all this support for Clinton, there were several protests before and after the rally.
Before the event, the Beta Kappa chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity hung various cloth sheets with statements from their fraternity house. Four of the signs read, “#FreeMeekMill,” “Brown wears crocs,” “If you ain’t KA get up out of my trap house,” and “Kyle Forbes 4 Governor.”
The fraternity house is the closest to Ritchie. Police spoke to members, but the reasoning behind these signs is still unknown.
“I think it’s not a well representation of our school and it’s embarrassing,” said Haley Kurtz, a sophomore mathematics major.
Additionally to the fraternity’s signs, there was an older woman going up and down the rows of waiting ticket holders holding a sign that said, “Want a job when u graduate Vote Republican.”
The worst waves of protests occurred inside Ritchie and were all directed at Clinton, taking away from the rally’s purpose of campaigning for Brown.
Even though Clinton only spoke for 10 minutes, immigration activists associated with United We Dream, a national advocacy group that have been targeting several of Clinton’s speeches, found a way to make their presence known in Ritchie as well.
The activists first held signs that read, “Choose Families Over Politics,” and they began to chant it from the ground floor of Ritchie.
Police escorted the activists out of the coliseum, and those in the crowd overpowered the activists’ protests by chanting, “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!”
When the crowd finally calmed, Clinton laughed and said, “If they’d just waited a little while, I was getting to the DREAM Act.”
Two years ago, O’Malley passed a state version of the DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition to young undocumented immigrants.
Even with protests during the rally, the speakers were able to voice their positive opinions on Brown.
“Anthony Brown is fighting for the people,” said Frosh, who is campaigning for attorney general.
“Brown was there every step of the way- [he’s] always been on our side,” O’Malley said.Brown’s campaign heavily focuses on high early education, and he said he wants to make college education accessible and affordable for all people. He also said he aspires to raise minimum wage, protect the environment, and protect a woman’s right to choose to abort a pregnancy or grow it to term and the right to choose to use birth control.
“This is the campaign that fights every day for the working class families and the middle class,” Brown said.