College of Republicans and College of Democrats host a debate night at BYU

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BYU student Levi Hilton delivers his speech on the federal minimum wage. The BYU clubs the College of Republicans and the College of Democrats hosted another one of their periodic debate nights at the Maeser Building on Oct. 27. (Andrea Zapata)

The BYU clubs the College of Republicans and the College of Democrats hosted one of their periodic debate nights at the Maeser Building on Oct. 27.

Members of the two clubs debated about the possibility of expanding the Supreme Court, mandatory minimum sentencing on crime and the increase of the federal minimum wage.

The College of Republicans president Isaac Grow said the topics they debated about were chosen based on mutual interest to debate about them from both sides.

“I think we try to avoid a lot of hot-button issues or those related to morals,” College of Democrats President Amy Kurtzweil said. “We definitely work for policy-based issues.”

Each debate topic was discussed for 16 minutes. Each debater had two minutes to make their opening argument, which was followed by several two-minute session rebuttals.

During the debate, members of the audience had the chance to submit their questions online and have the debaters answer them.

Some of the questions asked were about how raising the minimum wage could affect small businesses, about the relationship between higher crime rates and mandatory minimums and about the relationship between race and diversity of ideas.

A debater from the College of Democrats begins her argument. The BYU clubs the College of Republicans and the College of Democrats hosted their periodic debate night at the Maeser Building on Oct. 27. (Andrea Zapata)

When asked about the relationship between the two clubs, Kurtzweil said her experience with the College of Republicans had been very positive.

“I’ve had a good relationship with the democratic club leaders,” Grow said as well.

The two club presidents said that although they think there is some political divisiveness on BYU campus, there is still room for conversation.

“I feel like there definitely is a certain degree of divisiveness on campus” Kurtzweil said. “But I also think that our campus community definitely does promote the idea that we do need to have open healthy dialogue with other people.”

Grow said that despite the two clubs’ discrepancies, they still agree on certain topics and that the periodical debates are a great way to come to understandings and listen to different opinions.

“These debates have instilled in me this idea that conversations on the other side are always possible but it requires both sides being respectful and trying to keep in mind that everyone’s doing their best,” Kurtzweil said.

Kurtzweil also said that by avoiding the “hot-button” topics, the debate room can be a space for civility from the debaters and the audience.

“We can get really productive conversations out of it and we can learn a lot about each other,” Kurtzweil said.

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