British News Organization To Broadcast Student Discussion

This story was written by Sommer Ingram, The Lariat
Select Baylor students will have an opportunity to share their opinions regarding the presidential election with an international audience today.

British Sky News, an international broadcasting company based in the United Kingdom, is holding a live student debate on campus.

It will be broadcast to more than 100 countries.

Two students will debate, one representing Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and the other representing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on issues currently affecting each candidate's campaign.

"There were a few factors that contributed to our coming to Waco," associate producer Tiffany Caroffino said. "Waco has become a hot-spot in politics for setting up headquarters and campaigning. We also thought about Baylor because we thought it would be interesting to get the views of students there, since it is a traditionally very conservative Baptist university."

The debate will feature only students representing the Democratic Party because the Republican candidate has essentially already been decided, Caroffino said.

Plano junior Stephanie Formas will represent Clinton, but the Obama representative has yet to be determined.

"It's great to see students in the heart of Texas getting involved and having the chance to tell the world what we really think through this broadcast segment," Formas said. "I hope to represent Sen. Clinton the best I can because I believe she is the only person in this race who can step in the White House and be ready to lead on day one."

Ryan Young, 2006 Baylor alumnus, created the Baylor for Obama organization and is in charge of finding the Obama representative for the debate.

Young said while he doesn't think the debate will necessarily affect the outcome of the primaries today, it is nonetheless a way to make the public more aware of what Obama stands for.

"We want to represent his campaign as best we can," he said. "A lot of students are drawn to Barack because they think he'd be a charismatic, authentic leader, but they don't really know where he stands on the issues. We want people to know he does have a very sound policy on every issue."

Dr. Martin Medhurst, distinguished professor of rhetoric and communication, will also be interviewed on air.

"It's extremely important that people, whether they are students are not, take seriously their responsibility of citizenship," he said. "The foremost responsibility is following the policies that shape our nation and when you have the chance, helping to shape those policies."

Engaging students in this kind of political dialogue is essential to the continued development of this country, Medhurst said.

"It's interesting because different groups play bigger or smaller parts in different elections," he said. "The 18- to 29-year-old group is playing a huge role in this election; they are pretty much the base of Obama's candidacy."
© 2008 The Lariat via U-WIRE