Campus politics square off in ‘The Great Debate’


Lindsey Fiala | Reporter
Nov. 8, 2016; 7 a.m.

Campus Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians all participate in the mock election on Nov. 3 in Dunseth Auditorium.
Photo taken from Lindenwood College Republicans Facebook page.

Lindenwood’s political organizations stepped into ring at the The Great Debate to discuss a wide variety of issues in the upcoming election.

The debate took place in Dunseth Auditorium on Nov. 3 and was highly attended by faculty and students. Some who attended even stood in the back due to lack of seats available to accommodate the large crowd.

“We were not expecting to fill every seat”, said moderator Austin Byrd.

The College Democrats at Lindenwood, The Lindenwood College Republicans and The Young Americans for Liberty all participated in the event. The Republicans were represented by Jonathan Dunlop and Benito Luongo; the Democrats by Nick Simmons and Jessie Basler; the Libertarians by Mackenzie Vieth.

“Honestly, I didn’t mind standing alone,” said Vieth “I don’t know if it was because I did know a lot of the people I was debating against beforehand or not. This is something I am passionate about and is something that is easy for me to talk about”.

Moderators Austin Byrd and Ilsa Dulle delivered questions to the participants on topics including education, foreign policy, immigration, social policy, health care, domestic policy, criminal issues, and environmental issues. Each debater was allowed one minute to respond to any given question.

“I think the time limits hindered them”, said audience member Mark Weygant.

Members of the three political groups answered questions from moderators, while the audience responded to the same questions through a text poll.
Photo by Lindsey Fiala

Throughout the debate, members of the audience were also asked to express their views on the debate questions through texting poll. The poll provided real-time results which were displayed on a projector as the debaters gave their responses.

The event consisted of two, one hour sections separated by a 20 minute break. During the break, pizza was provided for everyone in attendance.

Each group is certain that more political debates will take place in the future, especially because of the large turnout and audience’s positive response to the event.

“I think it was a wonderful debate. I loved hearing all the opinions of the different clubs”, said Basler. “I think it was very educational to everyone in the audience. They got to see every perspective on an issue”.  

A student can get involved in these clubs by requesting membership on InvolveU or by shooting one of Facebook pages a message.