How was video project partisan?


To the editor:

I am confused by and need some clarification of the decision by the Oberlin Community Candidates Night committee to cancel the candidates video project “because we are committed to the integrity and non-partisanship” of the event. The announcement of the decision further states that “we were unable to complete the video in such a way as to prevent the appearance of partisanship.”

The Oberlin Candidates Night has always been a non-partisan event. All sponsoring groups have always been non-partisan. Oberlin city is, by charter, non-partisan. All candidates for Oberlin city council run without any party designation or affiliation, all as non-partisan candidates.

I understand the video project was a new venture without precedent and the time frame for its design, completion, and implementation (i.e. its showing on cable television) was short. I also understand that all candidates were invited to participate and that 11 of 14 candidates agreed to do so, including some who were scheduled to be videotaped on the day of the cancellation.

What I do not understand is how in any way there would or could have been the appearance of partisanship. I have served on previous Candidate Night coalition committees — including the inaugural one — and am a current and past member of several of the groups that are sponsors (or supporters) this year. This is by definition a non-partisan event.

I hope that someone will be able to explain how the concept of partisanship ever even entered into the conversation with regard to this well-intentioned but abruptly-terminated video project.

Kristin L. Peterson

Oberlin