By: Josiah Jorenby

The SDSU College Republicans and the SDSU College Democrats faced off on Thursday, Oct. 30 and debated many issues that were relevant to the campus, the state and the nation. The debate, hosted by the SDSU Political Science Club, had about thirty students show up to watch.


The debate took place at Jack’s Place in the Union and had a classical answer and question format. Four members of the Political Science Club served as moderators for the debate and took turns asking the questions.  The questions were grouped into three main categories: campus issues that directly impacted students, state level issues and national/international issues. Representing the College Republicans were Joe Schartz, Andrew Kapperman and Tom Schartz. The College Democrats were Carter Christensen, Nathaniel Cacy and Nicholas French.


The first category covered was on issues that affect students here on campus. Topics covered including a ban on smoking on campus, allocation of GAF (general activity) funds, living learning communities, student loans, storing guns on campus and how to fix the educational system. Both sides agreed on many of these topics, though sometimes they differed on how to fix these problems.


Republicans stated that students should be allowed to smoke, but laws that require smokers to be a certain number of feet away from a building should be better enforced. The Democrats agreed, but said they wished to start a marketing campaign that targeted smoker, exposing the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke.


“Our goal would be to get a marketing campaign out there to tell people about the bad effects of smoking,” Christensen said.


In the second category, they covered state-level issues. This dealt with several issues that were very relevant to the upcoming election. They debated issues such as raising the minimum wage, the legalization of marijuana and the Keystone XL pipeline. They discussed minimum wage which was on the ballot for the upcoming election. Initiated Measure 18, a measure which would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 in South Dakota passed on Nov. 4.


The debate then moved on to national and international issues. This section opened up with a question on how the parties would handle the current Middle East crisis and the growing threat of ISIS.


“ISIS needs to be destroyed. We need to unequivocally wipe them out,” Joe Schartz said.

The Democrats agreed with the Republicans that ISIS is a big threat and that the country needs a more cohesive foreign policy but proposed a different way of dealing with ISIS.

“We want to create strong coalitions out in the Middle East,” French said.


Questions were asked about solving the national debt, immigration reform and what the reason was nothing was getting done in congress. The debate then wrapped up with a few questions from the audience and some final closing statements from both parties.


“What most surprised me was the turnout. I was very surprised by the number of people that came to listen. I was very happy to see that,” Christensen said.


Both parties stressed the importance and benefits of being a part of a political organization, no matter what your political alignment.


“Students are going to be the ones dealing with these issues in years to come. We’re going to need a new generation of leadership,” Kapperman said.


Christensen said that students shouldn’t be discouraged about joining a political organization because ultimately it impacts them.

“It the people in Washington and in our state legislature that are making decisions on our tuition costs, our loan interest rates, right to work and quality,” said Christensen. “Government is not getting a lot of stuff done, because we aren’t involved in the political process.”