Campus political groups debate education issues, foreign affairs

The debate was between student Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

The MU Democrats, the Mizzou College Republicans and a new campus group, the Young Americans for Liberty, all took part in a debate on politics Wednesday in Memorial Union.

College Republicans Chairwoman Sophie Mashburn said she thought the event remained more civil than some previous debates between the College Republicans and MU Democrats.

Wednesday’s debate centered around questions from audience members, including up-to-date topics like foreign affairs issues in Libya and Egypt.

The three groups primarily held similar opinions on the war going on in Afghanistan.

Young Americans for Liberty debater Stuart Hughes argued that libertarians had stood up against the war in Afghanistan first.

“The best exit strategy was to never go there in the first place,” he said.

Mizzou College Republicans debater Craig Arnzen agreed but noted that the United States has never left other areas where they have had foreign wars in the past, such as in Germany.

“It’s a job that if we were to just leave, we would leave them in a state of turmoil,” Arnzen said.

Tom Wright of the College Democrats said he thinks the United States will eventually have to completely remove their presence but the U.S. currently should try to build democracy as best as they can.

Debate teams established their opinions on U.S. involvement in the overseas protests.

“I think our job as far as response is concerned is to monitor the situation and see how it’s going to affect us,” former Mizzou College Republicans Chairman Brett Dinkins said. “I don’t want us to jump in anything too quickly.”

But Wright said the U.S. needs to stay out of it because they do not want to get involved in war. But he said the U.S. does need to monitor situations like those with the Muslim Brotherhood, who tend to have anti-Western ideals.

“It’s their country—let them figure it out,” Hughes said.

A hot topic in politics today, what to do about the public school system and education in general, promoted the most differences in opinions for the debate overall.

Hughes said public education should come down to a natural selection process where schools are allowed to fail.

“Furthermore, the overall idea is to bring it back to the local level,” Dinkins said for the Republicans. “You’re painting a wide brush over very detailed schools.”

The Democrats disagreed, saying they believed natural selection was not the best method to take care of educational problems in the U.S.

“You can’t just let schools fail,” said Madeline O'Leary for the Democrats. O'Leary is a member of The Maneater staff. “That means you’re letting down children.”

O'Leary said benefits of "Race to the Top" include the fact that it is very centered around states where each state can make their own standards and plans, but still does not believe it will fix everything.

“Republicans and libertarians are going to be in agreement here,” libertarian debater Abhi Sivasailam said. “I tend to believe that the government should be involved in promoting education. That doesn’t mean that government should produce education.”

The groups closed the debate with a discussion of the teachers' unions, the United Nations and nuclear reactors in the U.S.

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