Marianne Williamson, author and spiritual leader turned presidential candidate, will appear in a discussion event hosted on campus by the Michigan State University College Democrats, or College Democrats, on April 26.
The event will take place at 6:30 p.m., College Democrats President and international relations junior Dhyey Dalal said. Williamson’s appearance at MSU is the first in what the student group hopes will be a series of guest speakers during the 2024 election cycle.
“As the MSU Democrats, we want to have an open platform for any Democratic candidate that wants to come in and talk about their policies, what they want to get done,” Dalal said. “So we thought that this would be a really great event, especially since the elections are next year.”
Williamson, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 but dropped out to endorse U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, launched her second campaign in March of 2023.
In spite of Williamson’s status as a long-shot candidate for the Democratic nomination, College Democrats executive board member and political theory junior Liam Richichi said the student organization's members think the event will be valuable for any students and community members wanting to be more informed about candidates for public office.
“Regardless of whether or not she's going to win, it's still a great opportunity for everyone to get together, learn about her platform,” Richichi said. “And you never know, it's super early in the cycle.”
A March poll placed Williamson’s favorability ratings around 8% overall, but among voters under 25 years old, her approval rose to 18%.
Richichi said he hopes Williamson will address issues that matter to young people — something she’s gained attention for on social media platforms like TikTok in recent months.
“A lot of the attendees of this event are going to be college students,” Richichi said. “So it's important to kind of hit on the issues that are important to us– student loan reform, what role we play in the economy after we graduate, where do we go from here, jobs– those are all important things.”
In her campaign’s infancy, Williamson has advocated for progressive policy stances, including student loan debt relief and anti-corruption measures.
Early in the 2020 campaign cycle, Williamson faced criticism in the past for comments made regarding vaccines and antidepressants.
College Democrats declined to comment on a Politico article from March in which 12 former campaign staffers accused Williamson of creating a toxic workplace environment in which they experienced “emotional and verbal abuse.”
In an email to The State News, Richichi said that while the group invites many guest speakers to campus, it is “not endorsing any candidate at this time.”
An RSVP form for the event is available on the MSU College Democrats social media pages. For security reasons, the location will be announced prior to the beginning of the event itself.