The Political Science League and the Cross Media Council hosted the annual College Republican and College Democrats debate in Farber Hall on Thursday evening.
Parker Spitzer, Gianna Miranda and Carter Munce argued on behalf of the College Republicans, and Brett Ries, Courtney Gould and Aaron Vlasman argued on behalf of the College Democrats. Rachael Newville, Editor-in-Chief of The Volante, moderated the debate.
The debate began with opening statements, and then Newville presented questions to both sides about relevant issues to college students, such as free speech, gun violence, student loan debt and immigration policy. The audience was also able to ask both sides questions.
Another issue discussed in the debate was political civility in the midst of polarization of American politics.
Ries said compromise will be necessary to have politics to move forward.
“Instead of actually talking about the issues, we’ve just been pointing the finger in the opposite direction,” Ries said. “If we want to have more political civility, we have to stop that stereotyping… Be willing to critique the other side, as well as your own side,” Ries.
Spitzer, president of College Republicans, said he challenged the audience to read a news source from the opposite opinion, and to stop living in a “echo chamber.”
“Listening to the views that you already agree with over and over and over again won’t help you broaden your horizons and actually learn about the policy,” Spitzer said.
Kat Callahan, a sophomore political science major and the events coordinator of the Political Science League, said the purpose of the debate was to hear both sides of the issues.
“I think that having both sides here pushes not only the differences, but also the similarities that both parties have. I think the best question of the night was about the political parties and the amount of partisan that has been inflicting them,” Callahan said. “I think it’s good that both teams shared the option that it is not the political party that is in charge of your opinion, but you can vote for both Democratic and Republican ideals based on your own opinions.”
Callahan said the debate could have even been extended to continue to talk about issues in the current political climate.
“I think that the debate could’ve lasted longer, but that’s just because a lot of what’s going on currently was not addressed because of the crazy political climate right now,” she said.
To watch the debate, visit the Cross Media Council Facebook page.