On Oct. 8, UCI welcomed radio station 100.3 The Beat with deejay Nautica De La Cruz and world-renowned entertainer Steve Harvey as part of the ‘Rock the Vote’ campaign. Sponsored by the UCI Volunteer Center and the New Voter’s Project, ‘Rock the Vote’ is part of the largest campaign in history to mobilize the youth vote. The event, which was purposely scheduled after a week of debates and rallies as an intense grass roots effort to register UCI students to vote.
The rally began around 11 a.m. with 100.3 The Beat’s live broadcast in front of the Administration Building. De La Cruz hosted her midday show as other crewmembers worked to register students. Students who did register were able to redeem their registration receipts for prizes like free T-shirts and other giveaways.
The visit to UCI was one leg in a series of campus visits by The Beat and the Steve Harvey Morning Show, along with visits to DeVry, Pasadena City College and other local schools.
De La Cruz best summarized the basic premise of the campaign in stating that, ‘If you don’t have a vote, then you don’t have a say. This is about who you would like to represent you.’
Despite the continuous energy and activity, the highlight of the day was Harvey’s student address.
Arriving at 2 p.m. with the other DJs, Harvey was welcomed by an expectant UCI audience. Hundreds of students broke into cheering and applause as the truly stylish Harvey descended down the ramp of the Vote 100.3 The Beat tour bus.
After making it through the sea of cheering fans and students, Harvey took the stage to deliver his speech. He spoke to the students about the low youth voter turnout and his own turnout.
‘In my lifetime I’ve voted 12 times and that’s a poor track record,’ Harvey said.
After a short speech to the students to ‘just vote’ and a few jokes about DeVry (the next campus on the tour), Harvey opened the assembly to a Q-and-A session with the students.
The questions ranged from inquiries on the debates, issues like the closing of the King Hospital, the draft, as well as more lighthearted matters like Harvey’s suit and the possibility of a second ‘Kings of Comedy.’
Hip-hop was one particular issue that appeared to be very important to Harvey.
‘Hip-hop has gotten bigger than anything they ever saw,’ Harvey said.
He further commented on hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon in terms of what it used to be, what it is now and how it transcends boundaries, reaching out to everyone regardless of color, ethnicity, race or creed. Harvey further stressed the need to turn the hip-hop genre into something increasingly positive and uplifting and to stop ‘the bull crap on your turntables.’
On political issues, Harvey commented on the need to keep the King Hospital, which has recently been the target of closure. As Harvey pointed out, the hospital is one of the busiest trauma centers in the country, the closest hospital to the LAX airport. The elimination of King Hospital would put 11 more L.A. traffic miles between the airport and the nearest hospital.
Though the event was for non-partisan participation in the vote, Harvey did slightly reveal a left leaning political ideology. He refrained from taking positions on issues and giving away his partisanship. For instance, when asked about his position on the draft, Harvey commented, ‘I’m just interested in getting everybody to vote.’
In explaining his liberal identification, Harvey simply said, ‘I vote for my family members, I vote for my people.’
Lastly, Harvey did touch a little on the topic of race, but concluded, ‘If you’re poor, you’re poor. They don’t give a damn about your color.’
But the event was not completely political. Harvey was asked about the possibility of a second ‘Kings of Comedy’ but sadly commented that there would probably not be a second. As for questions on his suit, Harvey had this to say: ‘Just concentrate on college, don’t worry about that.’
The meeting turned to pure comedy when Peter the Anteater came to the stage. Just to recap:
Harvey: What the hell is the anteater?
Shirley: That’s the mascot, look behind you Steve.
Harvey: What the, what the shit kind of mascot is that? Is that your mascot?
The crowd cheered.
Harvey then went on a bit of a tirade that ended with, ‘That’s fucking intimidating.’
Harvey: (To Peter) Put your punk ass down.
Harvey: (As Peter raised the infamous ‘Rip’em Eaters’ handsign) You’re an anteater, stop it!
Harvey: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that’s mean.
The day ended with an important message from Harvey boarding the bus as he said, ‘I love this place, I never had so much fun at a college campus.’
Hopefully, these sorts of rallies will become the norm here at UCI rather than the extraordinary. When asked about the possibility of future visits to the campus, De La Cruz responded, ‘Send us an invitation, and we shall be here.’
Lastly, remember to vote in the upcoming election. The last day to register is Oct. 18, which is quickly approaching. The New Voters Project is handing out registration cards throughout campus.
In case you’re wondering, the New Voters Project is a nationwide voting project and locally sponsored by a coalition of organizations at UCI including the ASUCI, AGS, CalPIRG, Young Democrats, the College Republicans, MEChA, APSA, Kababayan, the African Student Union and many others.
As UCI’s New Voters Project coordinator Aaron Thompson, the victim of some harmless harassing by Harvey, puts it, ‘it’s a coalition … it’s everybody.’ And finally, early voting has already begun and is centered in the Dean of Students Office at the Student Center.
Before leaving UCI, Harvey offered some advice that would carry on past the elections.
‘The only thing more important than voting, is each other,’ Harvey said.
Filed Under: A & E