T. Todd Masman, Assistant Dean of Students at Central College, and Rinora Jelliqi, Inclusivity and Leadership Assistant, organized a presidential debate watch on Monday, Sept. 26, for students and faculty. About 60 attended the event.
Two professors led a one-half hour pre-debate discussion exploring topics including candidate expectations, candidates’ strengths and areas for development, which candidate was showing up, trust and politics, two-party system, and how each candidate comes across to the American public. There was open dialogue and questions provided by the attendees including psychological effect of each side on the other.
Masman said, “For the first debate I wanted professors at Central who teach subjects that align with the political environment. Professor Andrew Green in the Political Science Department teaches Presidential Elections and Professor Randall Renstrom, in the Psychology Department, teaches Political Psychology. These two professors were ideal to lead a discussion with their unique lens.”
After the debate Renstrom said, "Clinton was prepared, precise, and steady. Trump did damage to himself."
Green said, “The turnout for the debate was good. Students were engaged in the political process and present with questions and perspectives before the debate started. Several faculty members attended, too. To me, each candidate didn't seem to sway anyone to their side."
Masman said, “Central College works to bring an integrated learning approach to student life and the political system is an important aspect. We hope to have two students representing the political parties leading the Oct. 4 Vice-President pre-debate discussion; a representative from each of the Marion County political parties leading the pre-watch on Oct. 9; and for the last debate on Oct. 19 we’re inviting leads from the media.”
Popcorn, apple pie, drinks of punch and water, and other treats were available for the attendees. Presidential Debate Bingo sheets were distributed to keep the audience engaged and checking the pre-filled squares with labels like, “Trump scolded for interrupting” or “Clinton scolded for interrupting”; “Benghazi”; “Email server”; “Moderator reminds of time limit”; “Sipping Water”; “Birther”; “Fact Checking”; etc. Laughter was heard during the debate as certain squares were checked off.
At the end one student remarked when asked about the debate, “I loved it when Trump replied to a Clinton’s remark, ‘I’ll release my tax returns when you release your 30,000 deleted emails.”
The next debate is Oct. 4 in the Maytag Student Center.
This story has been modified since its original post.