Student groups gather for lively political debate on hot-button issues

Photo credit: Eisenhower Institute

Photo credit: Eisenhower Institute

By Dusty Hagedorn, Contributing Writer

In anticipation for the impending Clinton versus Trump presidential debates, the Eisenhower Institute, in coalition with the Political Science department, held a campus-wide political debate featuring the various political organizations of Gettysburg College. The goal of the debate was to foster positive dialogue between students and political organizations alike, while giving the campus community the chance to understand the views and sentiments of each organization in attendance. The political clubs involved in the debate were the College Democrats, College Independents, Young Americans for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom and the Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective.

The debate, moderated by professors in the Political Science department, had a clear organization to it. The Young Americans of Freedom sat at the far right of the debate table, followed by the Young Americans for Liberty to their left, then the College Republicans, College Independents, College Democrats and at the far left the Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective. This representation of the political spectrum, far right to far left, created an appropriate debate environment.

The panel of organizations contested one another on multiple topics, all of which touched upon hot-button issues in the current presidential election cycle. These topics included the war on drugs, an exemplary economic device or policy that each group supports, the rising cost of secondary education, undocumented immigration, the war in the Middle East and the gender-based wage gap.

The debate was largely successful in accomplishing its goal of allowing the few hundred students in attendance to be exposed to different political ideologies, as well as being introduced to the various sentiments of Gettysburg College’s political organizations. The debate allowed the various on-campus political groups to attract potential members through an open platform and to allow those in attendance to see where their views, both on the political spectrum and within the sphere of on-campus politics, seem to be most congruent. Overall, the debate demonstrated that young voters are very much politically active and involved, especially in the year of a presidential election.

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