Shippensburg students, staff and faculty gathered in Stewart Hall last Tuesday evening to participate in the fifth Ship Caucus. Attendees huddled in groups to support their favored candidates in the 2024 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump received the most support, with 41% of the vote. Cornel West took second place with 38%, beating out President Joe Biden’s 21%. Twenty-three of the caucus’ 56 delegates were awarded to Trump, with West receiving 21 and Biden the remaining 12.
The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, recited to a picture of the American flag on Dr. Alison Dagnes’ phone after it was realized that no one could find a real one.
Shippensburg University President Charles Patterson then gave remarks, saying “As we gather for this important event, it is a privilege to witness the vibrancy of our academic community as we come together today to exercise our collective voice and are shaping the leadership that will lead us into the future.”
“American democracy is not guaranteed and should not be taken for granted. Instead we should recognize that tonight we are expressing the most vital element of democracy, which is the ability to freely express the will of the people,” Patterson said.
Students from Dagnes’ Interest Groups class assisted with holding up signs for candidates. When the night began, there were six camps — Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nikki Haley, Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Dean Philips.
After the first round of caucusing, Haley, Kennedy and Philips were eliminated as they did not reach the threshold of viability.
In her remarks, Dagnes told attendees that this would be the university’s fifth caucus, after having held similar events in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.
Slate Opinion Editor Adam Beam was happy to see fellow students be politically engaged. “Even if they’re not politically supporting the candidate that I’m supporting, it’s just good to see that people my age are getting involved,” Beam said.
“I’m rather surprised by the sheer number of people present for the event. It’s neat to see how many people are interested in democracy,” said another student.