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Campus debate pits studentsʼ political ideas against each other

March 23, 2012

The College Democrats and the College Republicans will be battling it out on March 26 at UW-River Falls. This debate is an annual event that has gone on at the University for a long time.

This year’s debate will focus both on the Budget Repair Bill that Governor Scott Walker signed into last year as well as his recall election. Republican and Democrats will debate whether or not Walker’s policies have hurt, or helped the state of Wisconsin and education in Wisconsin.

Debaters for the Democrats will be Tyler Halverson and Lauren Evans, both students at UWRF. Hannah Carlson and Luke Affolter, students at the University, will be debating for the Republican side. John Evans, a political science professor, will be moderating the event.

“It has historically been used as an avenue to educate the campus population on the platform of our respective parties,” Halverson said. “There have been various issues debated over the years. This issue is important as it directly affects the campus.”

“Scott Walker and his allies in the legislature have drastically cut state aid to higher education,” Halverson said. “This directly affects students and they need to know that.”

The Budget Repair Bill that was passed and signed into law last year has had a significant impact on both UWRF as well as the entire population of the state of Wisconsin. Not only does it deal with education, but it has an impact on our economy here in Wisconsin.

“In some aspects this very topic we are about to debate has a national flavor to it,, the entire nation is watching Wisconsin and waiting to see what happens,” Affolter said. “It is also believed that the Walker recall results could set the political tone for the presidential election in November.”

Audience participation is not only allowed at these debates, but it is encouraged for people as well.

“This is the part of the debate that I am most excited about because it allows everybody to exchange ideas in a civil, ‘no fear environment,’” Affolter said.

Students are encouraged to have an opinion on important topics, and leaders are free to share their personal viewpoints without retribution.

There is always a diverse group of people who show up to the debate.

“I feel like there will be a lot of professors from UWRF as well as teachers from local schools,” said Affolter. “Of course we hope that students will attend the debate because this does have an effect on them.”

It is the hope that the general population will also attend, as debates can be a great forum for people to express their views as well as maybe become more informed with the important political issues around us.

Wisconsin’s recall effort started on Nov. 15 with activists gathering more than 300,000 signatures in 12 days. This number went up to 507,000 in just a month. Activists trying to recall Governor Walker will need 540,208 signatures in order initiate a recall election for the firstterm governor.

The debate starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Kinnickinnic Theater in the University Center.