WKU Democrats, Republicans debate

Photo Illustration

Tyler Prochazka

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama’s debate is weeks away, but at WKU, both sides are already tackling the issues. 

On Wednesday, the WKU College Republicans and Democrats debated over each party’s presidential candidate’s position on a variety of issues.


Saundra Ardrey, the co-director for the Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility, said the purpose of the discussion was to engage and inform students about the general election.

“There’s just not enough opportunities for students to listen to each other,” Ardrey said.

The debate started with both sides laying out their general ideology on the issues. 

Louisville junior Nate Allen, a representative for the Democrats, said living in Bowling Green is enough proof that a larger government is needed.

“Anyone in Bowling Green who has smelled the dog food plant almost every day should prefer to have more EPA regulations,” Allen said.

While the discussion remained civil between the two sides, some moments were tense when the differences between the two became clear.

At one point, a discussion on birth control veered into the topic of abortion. 

“In the case of rape or whatever, you should have the right to a plan B, or an abortion if you need that, because it will save money in the long run if you want to solve the economy like that,” Lawrenceburg sophomore Emily Kinnaird said to the Republicans. 

Hendersonville, Tenn., senior Jason Stewart, said Republicans aren’t against preventing access to birth control but don’t want to allow terminating a pregnancy once it occurs.

“We’re all about stopping it; we just don’t want you to stop it after it happened,” he said.

Elizabeth Gribbins, president of the WKU College Democrats, said after the debate that this topic was one of the more “intense” moments of the discussion. 

It was the topic of financial aid, though, that drew the most attention. 

When Ardrey asked who received financial support from the government, many of the audience members raised their hand, which led to questions for both sides.

However, neither side knew how to answer.

Ardrey said she thought it was because neither candidate is talking about issues that affect young people.

“These issues aren’t discussed because young people don’t vote,” she said.

Nashville sophomore Venikka Johnson said she was concerned about any potential cuts to financial aid.

“My family can not pay for my school,” Johnson said. “Neither of my parents graduated high school. When somebody says they want to take away financial aid or lower it, it’s putting off a lot of opportunities for people.”

Despite some of their differences, the debate ended with both sides agreeing they want to see America improve.

Both sides also emphasized that it is important for students to get involved in the political process and  register to vote.

Sophomore Dalton Workman, president of the WKU College Republicans, said efforts to inform students are critical. “If we don’t educate ourselves, we won’t be able to make ourselves the best country in the world,” Workman said.