EDITORIAL: Smatresk can't fix the Titus debate controversy 


Cheating and academic dishonesty are taken very seriously here on campus, as they should be.

By extension, the policies that are in place for students should be in place for instructors.

But when the dishonesty is taking place away from the campus in a non-campus related activity, it’s pretty much out of the school’s jurisdiction.

That fact, however, has not stopped the UNLV College Republicans from attempting to hold Congresswoman Dina Titus responsible for violating the rules in her Oct. 14 debate with challenger Joe Heck.

Titus used a binder of notes during the debate when the candidates had agreed to use only a note card. The move has caused a backlash from the College Republicans, as they sent a letter to UNLV President Neal Smatresk and contacted multiple board of regents members asking them to condemn her actions.

Smatresk replied, in what College Republicans member Mark Ciavola described as a “form letter,” that he had nothing to do with the debate or how it was run.

In response, the organization has continued to pursue Smatresk for a public response to the situation.

This election season has been a golden opportunity for the student body here to be politically active. Consequently, we applaud the College Republicans for staying true to their cause and fighting against what they believe to be an injustice.

With that said, we are curious as to what exactly their cause is, and how a statement from Smatresk advances their position in any way.

To clarify,we don’t agree with Titus’ actions. We feel that if she and Heck agreed to a single note card, then she should have stuck to her promise.
Having so many notes available gave her the advantage of having prepared statements when Heck had to give extemporaneous comments, and going against an agreement in order to do so is something that should be a red flag when looking at Titus on Election Day.

However, the way to go about this kind of a situation is to take it to the media and make sure people know about it.

Submitting an op-ed piece to the Review-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun or even The Rebel Yell would have gotten the situation into the mainstream, as would protesting in front of her headquarters.

Contacting Smatresk for a response does nothing in the grand scheme of things. As he said, he had nothing to do with the debate or Titus’ decision.
All Smatresk could actually do is say, “I don’t condone these actions,” and that would do little overall. The College Republicans say that Regent Raymond Rawson did issue a statement, and it barely registered on the political radar.

We respect what the College Republicans are trying to do, but they need to realize that what they are trying to do would be better served for an opinion section and a political ad — not Smatresk’s office.