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Mount Union Students Debate Effectiveness of Political Primaries

November 4, 2008

  debate “Millions of American citizens are voiceless,” declared Kaley Smitley, one of the six Mount Union students debating the necessity of the Electoral College at the recent Student Debate held in Chapman Hall.

The topic of the debate was, “Resolved that Political Primaries Do Not Reflect the Will of the General Electorate and should be discontinued.”

Debaters included Thomas P. Krumel, Abigail Price and Smitley who spoke against the use of the Electoral College and Bradley Kerstetter, Alexandria Lucak and Carly Skidmore who made an argument for its continuation.

Each student had eight minutes during which to give a constructive speech stating their position and providing support. Both sides took turns asserting their opinion.

Krumel spoke first, reflecting on how large of a role the media plays in shaping the public’s view of a candidate in relation to the media attention given to the primaries. Kerstetter spoke next, touching on how the electoral process gives citizens the opportunity to see the candidates’ character and maturation.

Prentice said that Federal dollars are wasted in the electoral process. She emphasized how the nomination process would be more effective if America resorted to a caucus system. Lucak spoke after Prentice about how, in the Electoral College, “only the strong survive.” Without the electorate, she said, we would be left with eight to ten candidates making it nearly impossible to choose.

Smitley spoke about the bias that emerges as a result of our reliance on the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries.

Skidmore, the final debater, acknowledged that the “system needs repair, but it’s not broken.” She asserted that it represents the functionality of a true, unbiased and fair democratic system.

Three winners were chosen based on the effectiveness of their arguments. Smitley won first place honors, Skidmore was awarded second place and Kerstetter received third place recognition.

John Frazier, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, provided the introduction. Amanda Thomas then sung “Journey to the Past,” from Disney’s Anastasia. Dr. Lee Gray, professor of geology, served as moderator. Dr. Rodney Dick, assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center, acted as chief scorer and judge. Other judges for the debate included Robert Garland, director of libraries; Theresa Davis, instructor of history; Fendrich Clark, assistant professor of communication and Dr. Michael Myler, professor of economics, accounting and business administration. Dr. John Recchiuti, professor of history, provided the closing statement.

The Student Debate has been organized annually by Dr. Santosh Saha, professor of history, for 15 consecutive years.

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