On Tuesday, April 12, the Government and Politics Club held a political debate on the Quad. Since we are in the midst of a heated presidential race and the New York primaries are already upon us, this is a timely event.
Students Kaitlyn Greiner, Michaela Bishop, Jared Boyles and Celena Gonzalez made up the first team, called the “Millennial Falcons”. The second team, called “The Filibusters”, was comprised of Lisa Angeles, Liam Moran, Alannah Boyle, and James Irazarry.
Lisa Angeles, senior psychology major, emphasized that debates like this are important to increase awareness and get young people active and involved.
“Students are the future leaders of our nation, and if you get the students engaged, you get the future engaged. I think it’s really important to cultivate that,” said Angeles.
Of the many issues, the topics the club picked to debate were the minimum wage, immigration laws, and government surveillance.
On the topic of minimum wage, the Millennial Falcons were against raising the federal minimum wage, arguing that the cost of living fluctuates throughout the United States, and argued that the minimum wage should be based on each area.
The Filibusters felt the opposite, arguing that it’s the government’s job to ensure that citizens are being paid fairly.
When it came to immigration, the Millennial Falcons leaned towards immigration laws that were less strict, where the Filibusters contended that immigration laws are critical for the well being of our country.
Jodie Rohrer, a sophomore Peace Studies major, was one of the students watching the debate on Tuesday.
“I think the debate flowed really well, and I agreed with what the Filibusters were saying about minimum wage but then I also agreed with what the Millennial Falcons were saying about immigration,” said Rohrer.
Each of the members of the board of the Government and Politics club headed an event this year. This one was headed by Haley Herkert, junior government major, who also moderated the debate.
While Accepted Students Days and other events made it difficult for Herkert to organize, it turned out being a success, as a handful of students on the Quad gathered to listen to the arguments.
“Just because we’re not known as a politically active campus, we want people to know that it’s important to register to vote. Our whole mission of the club is for people to not be apathetic about government because it affects everything,” said Herkert.
Herkert also stresses that the club, advised by Professor Margaret Groarke of the Government Department, is not limited to certain students.
“The club is bipartisan and our mission is to defeat political apathy on campus. We’ve been doing registration drives, straw polls, and debate watch parties all year,” she said.