Ben Karlin is easily one of the better-known UW alumni who graduated in the '90s. After editing The Onion from 1993-96 and spending time writing for a variety of TV shows the following three years, he jumped on board as the senior writer at The Daily Show only months after the arrival of Jon Stewart. Since that time, Karlin has ascended to the role of Executive Producer with that show and The Colbert Report, the year-old program he helped launch with Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Now Karlin is stumping for the Student Union Initiative, a binding referendum on the UW's fall ballot that would raise students' segregated fees (by $48 per semester for two years and subsequently by $96) in order to renovate Memorial Union and reconstruct Union South. While there is no shortage of political ads online, this one is relatively unique, both with its limited focus on UW students and with the prominent support from Karlin.
His pitch for the Student Union Initiative follows below.
The Student Union Initiative has been a fairly protracted affair at the UW, with this week's vote following an earlier measure in March 2006. That ballot was ultimately discarded due to significant technical errors with the electronic voting system provided by the university's Department of Information Technology. The measure will be back on the ballot for the UW's fall semester, alongside another seeking to raise student employees' wages to $10.23 per hour. This vote will be conducted at four campus locations on Oct. 18 and 19.
More coverage of Karlin's stumping for the initiative and its proponents hopes that the video goes viral on campus was published today in The Badger Herald. More details about Karlin's path from The Onion at the UW to TV satirical king are available from Broadcasting & Cable and The New York Times.