warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Students Weigh In On George Bush USC Visit

Sarah Collins |
November 19, 2013 | 5:45 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

George W. Bush | cliff1066 via Flickr
George W. Bush | cliff1066 via Flickr
Students are lined up to hear George W. Bush speak at USC’s Bovard Auditorium. Meanwhile, others not invited stand on the periphery, hoping to catch a glimpse of the former-President. 

See Also: USC Agrees To Media Blackout On Bush's Speech

“I’m a moderate Republican. It’s always exciting to hear a President of the United States speak and it’s an honor to have him campus. He’s a piece of our history,” said student Ariel Sobel.  “It’s not really essential what people’s political views are.” Sobel said of the event’s invitation selectivity: “I don’t think it’s necessarily fair, but I think people with scholarships, particularly, expect, going to this school, to have certain perks and I think that’s a natural kind of thing. I think it’s not necessarily fair but it’s right, if that makes sense.”

See Also: USC Limits Access To George W. Bush Talk 

“I grew up with George Bush as President,” said Matt Devine. “I know a lot of people don’t like him and don’t have respect for him. He made mistakes, but so does everyone. I have the utmost respect for him.” Of the event, he said, “I think it’ll just be nice to hear him speak about his personal views, his presidency, formal politics, future politics, pretty much anything like that.” A member of the College Republicans and a USC Presidential Scholar, he still had some reservations about USC’s invitation decision-making process. “I think everyone should have been invited. You can’t really say if everyone in one group wants to see him and everyone in another group doesn’t want to see him. So, I think it should’ve been open to a lot more people.”

When Emily Welch and Grace Mandl were told that College Democrats, College Republicans, and USC Presidential Scholars were some of the only groups invited, they said, “That makes sense.” 

Chris Wary spoke of his anticipation of the event: “I’m just really excited to hear the former President. I’ve never gotten to see someone so important before. I don’t even know what he’s supposed to talk about.” When asked about his invitation, he said, “I got an email about it, I’m assuming because I’m an MBA student. I think graduate students or people that have more interest in [the event] should’ve had invite over first years. I guess it’s like a seniority thing.” 

Others who were not invited, such as student Giovanni Moujaes, were pretty upset with the event’s planning: “It took many Instagram and Facebook posts to realize that George Bush was actually coming to campus. When I did look into it and I found out that only certain exclusive people got invited, I was very disappointed. I wanted to know why. I still don’t know why, they still won’t tell us the reason why.” He then spoke of the event’s invite specificities: “I think it’s unfortunate that you kind of have to be involved with a political organization to appreciate a politician. George Bush was more than just a politician; he was a reformer; he was a great guy, and just being able to hear what he has to say just about life in general would have been something really interesting.” Moujaes offered some advice as to how this event should have been executed, saying, “I feel like this should have been more like a lottery or the most experienced people, per se, involved with government things. Those are going to be the people that would’ve appreciated this the most. Just because you’re a scholar doesn’t mean you enjoy politics or doesn’t mean you understand it to the extent where you would get the most out of it.” 

Media organizations were not allowed inside the event and photography, video, tweeting and recording are prohibited. Several USC and Neon Tommy reporters are students and were allowed access but remain under the media restrictions.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.