On Tuesday, Oct. 23, three of Suffolk’s student political clubs came together for a two-hour debate on ten different issues in the C. Walsh Theatre at 6:00 p.m. Moderated by Professor David Tuerck, Suffolk’s Economic Department chair and Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Institute, the debate included the Suffolk University College Democrats, Suffolk College Republicans (SuffolkGOP,) and the Suffolk Libertarians.
Each group was granted two selected representatives. The selected students were Conor Finley and Kelly Lyons debating for the Democrats, Julia Whitney and PJ Farancroff for the Republicans, and Nick Bonasoro and Tom Joyce for the Libertarians.
The six representatives spent about an hour and forty minutes discussing the ten subjects ranging from education reform with charter schools, war and defense spending (specifically on Libya and Iraq,) the 2014 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, taxes and each candidate’s tax plan, to healthcare (mainly Obamacare,) drug laws and the war on drugs, same-sex marriage, abortion (concerning Roe v. Wade,) immigration and potential passage of the DREAM Act, environment and regulation of the EPA, and finally gun control in regard to the Stand Your Ground law. For the remaining twenty minutes, the three clubs responded to questions from audience members on topics like the Massachusetts Senate race-between leaving Republican Senator Scott Brown and Harvard professor and Senator-Elect Elizabeth Warren – as well as legalization of marijuana.
Finley, a junior and president of the Suffolk University Democrats, said he felt “the debate went great for all parties involved,” and that “it’s nice to have events like that on campus to give students the opportunity to hear about this election from peers.” As this was the one and only student debate on campus this year, those involved were worried about the attendance but they managed to garner about forty students, faculty, and other viewers to watch the debate held just two weeks before Election Day.
Finley said that he “wouldn’t say there was a winner, that’s not up to my biased judgment. All three parties made great points and I was happy with the overall experience. I think if there were to be another one the three clubs would need to be more cooperative in agreeing on terms and conditions of the debate. The C. Walsh was a great venue for the event and I hope we continue to do these debates on campus.” Though views were not all expressed towards this same opinion.
Whitney, president of SuffolkGOP, stated that “while attendance was fairly low, the debate went well. It’s always a fun experience debating the other political ideologies on campus. I think we successfully represented both the GOP platform and our own more modern Republican views.”
Of all people in the audience, the Democrats had a row of around a dozen members showing their support with Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama signs that they held during the debate.
Each club, with their two representatives, spoke not only on behalf of themselves and their own group, but also for their current presidential and vice presidential candidates. The Suffolk University Republicans spoke on behalf of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate United States Representative from Wisconsin Paul Ryan, while the Suffolk University Libertarians represented former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and his vice presidential running mate Superior Court judge Jim Gray from Orange County, California, and the Suffolk University Democrats represented President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden.