UB clubs participate in third-annual Great Debate

Students across the political board discussed immigration, green energy and universal college education at the third-annual Great Debate.

Roughly 60 students came out to see the debate hosted by College Democrats, College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom and Debate Society. Luke McDaniel, a computer science major, and Makayla Roma, an industrial and systems engineering major, moderated the event on Wednesday night in the Student Union Theater. Debaters remained civil throughout their discussions, with only the final debaters getting a bit heated when they discussed free universal education.

Some debaters seemed to agree on issues in general, but remained defensive during their appeals.

Hayden Gise, a political science major, and Dominic Musilli, an economics major, debated universal college education and whether it should be provided free for all citizens. Gise’s and Musilli’s debate had an open format, with each having roughly four minutes to discuss their views.

Gise, who represented the Democratic perspective, started interrupting Musilli while he discussed alternatives to college, such as trade school.

“Education is something everyone should be entitled to,” Gise said.

While both agreed that high schools should provide students with more information on alternative schooling, their reasons elicited disagreements. Each used anecdotal examples about their families to defend their perspectives.

Brandon Hoolihan, a psychology and economics major, and Ezekiel Arubuike, a political science, history and economics major, debated immigration surrounding President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Moderators gave each debater time for an opening statement and rebuttal before asking questions. 

Hoolihan and Arubuike began most of their responses highlighting the other’s “falsified facts” after their opening statements, although the debate remained cordial. 

Hoolihan said illegal immigration is declining and that most illegal immigrants do not enter America by crossing the Mexican border.

Arubuike responded by saying “everything Brandon said was completely false.”

The debaters did not find a middle ground during their discussion.

Two-person teams discussed a “path to a greater future” and the role green energy plays in this. They each had two opportunities to speak and respond for two minutes before moderators moved on to the next question.

Joshua Kumi, an economics major, and Robert Rondinaro, a political science major, debated against green energy subsidies, calling them a “handicap to industry.”

Samantha Nelson, a biochemistry major, and Kathryn Lovell, an environmental geosciences major, argued that subsidies are an important incentive in encouraging people to invest in green energy. 

“We need to acknowledge that profit does not equal morality,” Nelson said. “What is right for a company is not right for our world.”

Jacklyn Walters is a co-senior news editor and can be reached at Jacklyn.Walters@ubspectrum.com and @JacklynUBSpec.


Jacklyn Walters is a senior communication major and The Spectrum's managing editor. She enjoys bringing up politics at the dinner table and seeing dogs on campus.