“We are just trying to make my mom’s campaign more accessible to people,” said Chelsea Clinton ‘01 on Sunday night to a standing-room-only crowd in the Pi Phi lounge. The Stanford alumna and daughter of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Ms. Clinton arrived at Stanford yesterday for a one-day swing through campus in order to talk to young women, a key target demographic of the Clinton campaign. But the limited invitation policy of the event at Pi Phi, which was only open to members of the Inter-Sorority-Council, left a bad taste in the mouths of the many Clinton fans and political junkies across campus, many of whom would have stayed home from Lake Tahoe ski trips for a chance to attend.
What transpired on Sunday night, however, created the impression that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which has been accused of belonging to a establishment network and resisting grassroots political change, was something less than accessible. Chelsea’s mum appearance sponsored by the sorority system, a naturally exclusive institution that accepts and rejects candidates based on notoriously subjective qualifications, only perpetuates the major criticisms of the Clinton campaign.
Certainly there are many sorority girls at Stanford who are interested in politics and benefited from hearing Chelsea speak — many sorority girls were denied entry into the event at Pi Phi. An open event, however, where perhaps a lottery system could have limited attendance but allowed access, could have drummed up more interest and positive energy for the Hillary campaign. Instead, on Sunday Chelsea sought “accessibility” for her mother’s campaign at a private event that, ten years ago, then-student Chelsea Clinton would not have been invited to attend.