Security turns away high schoolers petitioning for female debate moderators

The New Jersey high schoolers who were planning to drop off their petition for a woman moderator at the Commission on Presidential Debates were turned away by building security at the commission’s Washington, D.C., headquarters Tuesday.

“Security told us they don’t accept packages anymore,” Elena Tsemberis said when reached by telephone. “They’ve known we were coming since Friday.” Tsemberis, Emma Axelrod and Sammi Siegel brought boxes with printouts from their Change.org petition and flash drives with all the signatures on them. Security, Tsemberis said, told the trio they “couldn’t take our word for it” that the boxes contained only paper and wouldn’t let them in the building.

“It’s a letdown that they wouldn’t meet with us and give us their time,” Tsemberis said. “It reflects poorly on them.”

The three said they’d never had any contact with the commission, but it gets an email every time someone signs their petition, and they notified it last week they’d be coming. Axelrod tweeted a photo of the trio in front of the building with the boxes they hoped to present.

Next stops: offices for the Obama and Romney campaigns. The students said they’d let Poynter know what happens there. I’ve left a message with the commission requesting comment.

Previously: High school students petition Presidential Debate Commission, demand female moderator

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  • Anonymous

    sargeh
    1. I assume you have met them personally, have interviewed them, are aware of the time and effort they have invested in collecting their petitions, have examined the boxes of petitions they have delivered and have questioned them about their desire as citizens to engage in the political process. I mean, I assume that is how you reached your conclusion that they just want the limelight.

    2. Please provide links to how it has been demonstrated that women have a strong representation in the debates.

    3. I couldn’t disagree more. This is a story. Here are citizens soon to vote who appear to take their responsibilities as citizens seriously.

    4. I hope Poynter devotes the same resources to this story that it did vilifying performer Mike Daisey for stretching the truth about factories in China which manufacture Apple products.

  • Anonymous

    sargeh
    1. I assume you have met them personally, have interviewed them, are aware of the time and effort they have invested in collecting their petitions, have examined the boxes of petitions they have delivered and have questioned them about their desire as citizens to engage in the political process. I mean, I assume that is how you reached your conclusion that they just want the limelight.

    2. Please provide links to how it has been demonstrated that women have a strong representation in the debates.

    3. I couldn’t disagree more. This is a story. Here are citizens soon to vote who appear to take their responsibilities as citizens seriously.

    4. I hope Poynter devotes the same resources to this story that it did vilifying performer Mike Daisey for stretching the truth about factories in China which manufacture Apple products.

  • Anonymous

    Just high schoolers wanting the limelight. It’s already been demonstrated that women have a strong representation in the debates. This really isn’t a news story. The content quality of this site has taken a real dive over the past year or so.