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Fall 2012: Campus debate recap

Four teams took turns Oct. 25 defending positions on economic growth, health care and same-sex marriage while dismantling opponents’ views.

A crowded Whitley Auditorium heard diverse viewpoints Oct. 25 on the economy, same-sex marriage and health care.


With less than two weeks until the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Elon University students, faculty and staff took part Thursday night in a campus debate on some of the top public policy issues that have been at the center of both major candidates' campaigns for more than a year.

The Oct. 25 debate in Whitley Auditorium was moderated by WUNC's Dick Gordon of “The Story," a nationally syndicated radio program distributed by American Public Media to more than 100 stations. Gordon emphasized to the audience how crucial it is to hear opposing views on political issues when taking part in the democratic process.

“The campaigns we’re watching right now are a direct result of what we saw in the debates,” Gordon said in his welcoming remarks. “This isn’t play. Not here. Most of you get to vote, and most of you will have the chance to listen to perspectives you may not have heard. The election is going to be so close, this much we know. I say this to you and the debaters: minds will be changed tonight.”

Issues for the evening program were selected by a campus vote during a September College Coffee, where the community was invited to place chips into empty fishbowls labeled with a variety of public policy topics. Primary topics were the economy, healthcare and same-sex marriage.

In addition to traditional Democratic and Republican teams, Independents and International perspectives were also invited to take part in the forum, with teammates who took to task both major American political parties.

“The American people, especially those who are voting, need to realizes there’s an entire world out there – not just the middle East and China,” said Nicole Payne ‘15, speaking for the international team. “At a time when globalization, technology and international trade are rapidly making the word smaller and smaller, it is no longer acceptable to adopt policies of isolationism.”

“Our two party system is destroying this country by producing candidates who seem to care less and less about the liberty of the people,” said Austin Pederson ‘16, who gave an opening statement for the Independents. “It keeps the American people focused on a senseless battle between two increasingly identical ideologies.”

The following is a selection of viewpoints espoused by teams on the three biggest topics of the night.

On the economy:

On health care:

On same-sex marriage:


Keren Rivas,
11/5/2012 4:36 PM