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Why Students Should Get Seats at Presidential Debates

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On October 3, 2012, the University of Denver will host its first presidential debate and early on in the planning, Chancellor Robert Coombe rallied around the idea that students would have precedence for the tickets to this momentous event being held at their school. However, Coombe then realized that it would not be DU who would be selling the tickets, nor would it be the Magness Arena or the Ritchie Center, but the Commission of the Presidential Debates, who usually gives the tickets to the media and the campaigns to sell to whomever they please. This means that, unfortunately, we now have only 150 of 200 tickets to be given out by a lottery system to a student body of over 6,000 undergraduates alone.

I realize that many schools before ours have hosted presidential debates and that though ours is the first to be held in Colorado, it does not change the fact that thousands have sat back and watched the debate from their couches. What I am suggesting, however, is the fact that for many college students, whenever there is a debate held at their school, it is their first presidential election to vote in, the first time that they could really have reason to care about the outcome and the first time for them to really get involved. By taking away the chance to witness a debate in person, it could completely change how they view their political standings.

We are the next generation and that being said, I believe that it is important that we are taken seriously. There are many brilliant and politically-minded individuals at this school and around the country who would benefit greatly from being able to attend an event like this, but there are also many people who do not know where they stand politically who need to be able to make that decision with every ounce of information made available to them. Everyone always says that college is the first step into the adult world but by not letting us attend an event that is such a big part of our governmental process, they are keeping us reigned into the realm of childhood.

For those who would like to battle their way for one of those 150 tickets, USG will be holding pre-debate events in fall quarter and for each event you attend, your name will be entered into the lottery, increasing your chances of winning a ticket. Though I believe that this is an extremely fair way to distribute the tickets, not taking into account class rank or position in student government, I still believe that for every University, students and administrators should fight for the right to attend the debate since it is being held on their grounds and it would be beneficial for their community. For those of you who do not receive a ticket, there will be a watch party on-campus!

By Karolyn Castaldo, University of Denver