In a spin-off of the national presidential debates, Ithaca College Democrats and Ithaca College Republicans will take each other on at the Campus Wide Elections Debate, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The debate, organized by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, will take place in Emerson Suites. Healthcare is expected to dominate the first half of the hour-long debate, with the second half focusing more on student-related topics such as loan debt.
Teams consist of three debaters, including the presidents of IC Democrats and IC Republicans, and will answer questions that have been provided to them beforehand.
The debate is expected to be similar to the first national presidential debate, during which candidates President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney answered a series of questions on domestic policy.
Senior Justin Pyron will be the moderator of the debate. Pyron said a panel of judges will announce a winner at the end of the debate. The panel consists of Simon Gilhooley, lecturer in the politics department; Theresa Radley, assistant director of student leadership and involvement at OSEMA; and two representatives of the Tompkins County League of Women Voters. Debaters will be judged based on debating skills and effectiveness, not political positions.
Senior Rob Oliver, president of IC Republicans, said the group is confident of being able to argue for Republican ideals.
“We will be able to defend our presidential candidate’s credentials and such, but you are not going to see us defending the reproductive rights aspects [and] social issues as much as the party would,” Oliver said.
Senior Rob Flaherty, president of IC Democrats, said the group is looking forward to promoting the president’s agenda and making sure students know where the Democratic Party stands on issues that affect them.
“I feel like the democratic agenda and the work the president has done here is on the right side of all of these issues, and I look forward to making that clear on Tuesday,” Flaherty said.
The format of the debate will be similar to the recent presidential debates, Pyron said, and he will allow for the participants to contribute as much as possible while avoiding areas that have been covered many times in past debates.
“People don’t want to hear the same things repeated over and over again,” Pyron said. “They want to see logical points, so I am going to try and draw that out as much as I can.”
Moderators of the national debates have come under some scrutiny following Jim Lehrer’s unobtrusive performance at the first national debate. Pyron said he does not feel any such pressure.
“It won’t be as difficult to tell a person to stop talking, because I am not dealing with the president of the United States,” Pyron said.
Check out The Ithacan website Tuesday for a livestream of the debate, and follow our Twitter, @ithacanonline, for real-time fact-checking of what is said by both organizations.