Young politicians host debate

UM students Vincent Foster and Christopher Johnson participate at Monday's debate. Christopher Stampar//The Miami Hurricane

The Council for Democracy, in association with College Republicans and Young Democrats, hosted a policy debate Monday to help increase voter awareness on hot topics in American domestic politics such as healthcare reform, immigration reform, energy dependency and the economy.

With Republican and Democratic representatives on either side of the delegation, the symposium allowed panel members to introduce their national party’s position on a chosen topic, debate policy options with the opposing party and answer questions from members of the audience.

The groups aimed to increase civic consciousness and help student voters discover what party they are best aligned with so they can vote responsibly on Nov. 2.

“Our main goal is to promote political events on campus and fight political apathy,” said Cristian Robiou, president of the council for democracy. “We want voters at UM to go into the midterm election voting booth with a better grasp on what ideology best represents them.”

Debaters were knowledgeable about said topics and were quick to answer the submitted question to the best of their abilities. Audience members were pleased with the panelists’ ability to provide accurate empirical evidence to support their positions.

“As a Republican, it gave me a better view on what the Democrats are thinking and analysis on ways the two parties can cooperate,” sophomore Rachel Dawson said.

Even students from local high schools attended, hoping to take away a better understanding of current party politics in Washington.

“I wanted to get the perspective on these national topics from a college student perspective so they are not so abstract to me when I vote,” said Juan Acosta, high school senior at South Miami Senior High.

The debate also featured occasional heated exchanges between Republican and Democratic representatives, particularly on the subject of immigration—a topic relevant to Miami’s population.

“We need to secure our borders,” was the Republican mantra, repeated by debater Vincent Foster.

The three organizations will continue to host similar events on campus until Election Day in order to inform as many voters as possible and increase voter registration rates on campus. Council for Democracy, which began on campus as the Get Out The Vote organization, urges students to register to vote in order to fulfill their civic responsibility.

“Our next meeting is next Thursday, but we’ll also have more events including guest speakers who are members of government and a co-sponsored event with the group No Labels, which encourages bipartisanship,” Robiou said.

Nicolette Roque may be contacted at