The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service hosted debate night on Feb. 15 where students, alumni and staff gathered to listen to the discussion on controversial issues.
The debate was between the College Republicans and the College Democrats of Southern Utah University. The room was full as the parties argued stances on immigration and citizenship, abortion, welfare and college diversity.
Every issue had a calculated and researched stance from each member of the two teams, which were given the topics four days in advance. Each individual spent hours and days preparing.
After the introduction and welcome from Leavitt Center committee member Autumn Boren, a game of rock-paper-scissors decided the first representative to take a stance on each issue. This helped to lighten the mood before intense debates about the morality of immigrants gaining citizenship, whether a fetus qualifies as a human being, whether welfare is earned and effective and the difference between expression and oppression on campus.
Each representative had 3 minutes to present their stance, followed by a 1-minute cross-examination, then a 30-second allotment to prepare a 1-minute concluding statement.
It was a very organized debate, with strict time limits preventing the discussion from getting too heated and allowing only the most important information to be argued.
“I didn’t expect it to be this packed or this controversial, but I’m glad that both things happened,” said Boren. “The whole reason why we hold these events is so that people can express their opinions and start to develop their own ideas about the issues presented. That’s how change happens.”
Both the College Republicans of SUU and College Democrats of Southern Utah University are new. The College Republicans of SUU was organized at the beginning of this school year by club President Steven Tarno, and College Democrats was revived about three weeks ago under President Taylor Sella but has been a campus organization for three years. Both organizations welcome new membership and more information can be found through the TBird Connection link in the SUU Portal.
The Leavitt Center holds events every week including Pizza & Politics every Wednesday at noon. It is located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.
Photo by Larissa Beatty