BYU College Republicans and Democrats debate over current issues

Students Kirk Earl (left) and Brandon Sperle (right) debate and discuss current topics in politics during the BYU College Republicans-Democrats debate. (Jenny Lee)

The BYU College Republicans and the BYU College Democrats held their first debate of the semester on April 13.

The debate topics included refugees and immigration policies, the Supreme Court and judicial review, Planned Parenthood, healthcare, energy policy and more.

There were three moderators, officers from both the BYU College Republicans and Democrats who read questions to the debaters. Each debater had two minutes to speak and later had one minute for rebuttal.

Debaters talked about issues regarding contraception and birth control, the rights of the fetus and the woman, state vs. federal rights, and more. The College Republicans made arguments for pro-life issues and states’ rights while the College Democrats made arguments for better environmental policies, women’s rights and more.

Justin Hibbard, BYU College Republican Officer in charge of recruiting and fundraising, said it was a great experience to see people talk about politics in person rather than on social media.

“I thought it was really good that BYU students come together and talk politics; obviously there were issues that people agreed on and disagreed on but for the most part there were no bitter feelings,” Hibbard said. “I thought it was a positive event to see people our age getting involved in politics using their and pushing for good ideas that could help our country.”

Global supply chain student Neal Ferguson participated in the debate, though he does not attend BYU College Democrats meetings often.

“I thought both sides had reasonable and rational discussion and I felt like the audience saw that as well,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said these types of discussions at BYU are beneficial for people who are both liberal and conservative.

Audience members had different opinions on the debate.

BYU Idaho graduate Riley Burbank, who came with friends, said he and his friends did not enjoy the debate.

“I thought it was bogus and unrefined,” Burbank said.

Burbank said he was not convinced by either side of the debate. He said there is room for improvement.

Debate attendant and physics student Konrie Angel said it was informative.

“I think (the debaters) are doing a very good job of being able to portray different sides, and be able to say what they think and not be afraid of what the audience is thinking,” Angel said.

Angel said there were opinions that she did not necessarily agree with but liked that different points and perspectives were addressed.

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