Going beyond the donkey and elephant

Kiera Manion-Fischer

New club hopes to raise political involvement

Kent State students now have a new place to debate politics.

“If you don’t discuss politics in a nonpartisan way, you won’t have a chance to get your assumptions challenged,” said Justin Buchler, associate professor of political science at Case Western Reserve.

Buchler addressed the first meeting of the Kent Political Union yesterday. The union is a new nonpartisan political organization created by senior political science major Steve Dunwoody.

Dunwoody said he wants to give students a place to have political debates without party affiliations.

He hopes to “give students the information they need to make educated decisions when it comes time for them to vote.” Dunwoody said he fears student political involvement at Kent State is low and needs to be encouraged.

The organization’s first meeting covered local, national and international topics, ranging from smoking bans to the recent Mark Foley scandal.

Buchler began by discussing whether the majority party in Congress will shift. He stressed that it was not important how many seats were up for grabs by either party, but rather the disparity between the number of districts the Republicans are likely to win and those the Democrats are. Buchler thinks this election will be a close one.

Buchler also discussed the costs and benefits of new voting technologies, such as Direct Recording Electronic voting machines. Across the country, people have been debating whether the paper or electronic system is preferable.

“The underlying question,” Buchler said, “is which system actually makes it more difficult to commit voter fraud?”

After Buchler’s lecture, the students discussed everything from North Korea’s possible detonation of a nuclear weapon to who would make a better presidential candidate, John Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

Dunwoody said the union can be “a place where, I think, students can be heard, will be heard, without compromising their political liberal or conservative beliefs.”

Hillary Lovell, junior political science major, enjoyed the first meeting.

“I was expecting more people,” she said. “We actually had a pretty good discussion. It was a good place to actually debate the issues.”

After the meeting, Stephen Ontko, sophomore economics major, suggested that next week’s discussion focus on the electoral college. He said that he would definitely come.

The Kent Political Union will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Student Center.

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected]</>.