Undergraduate, law students debate election issues

Student groups and law professors debated the war in Iraq and other major issues in the election at a Town Hall meeting Monday night.

The debate, sponsored by the Student Association and Black Law Student Association, attracted about 130 students to the Law School’s fourth floor.

Students from the College Republicans, College Democrats, College Law Republicans and College Law Democrats participated in the debate, in which audience members were encouraged to ask questions.

Law professors Jonathan Seagal and Thomas Morgan also participated, law professor Paul Butler served as moderator.

College Democrats member Damon Churly said Bush’s unilateral strategy for the Iraq war is inefficient, adding that the administration has spent $200 billion on the war and more than 1,000 Americans have died.

“We can’t win the war on terrorism alone … (Sen. John) Kerry understands we must restore global unity,” Churly said.

College Republicans member Mark Harris countered by emphasizing President Bush’s strong stance on national security and the economy. “National security will be the defining point in the election,” Harris said.

Morgan and Seagal also debated the war on terror and Bush’s response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

“Those (terrorists) are out to destroy us, and their first major effort was 9/11, and it won’t be the last,” Morgan said.

Seagal responded, asking whether the war in Iraq is “fighting the war on terrorism” or a “distraction from the war on terrorism.” Many pundits have said the Iraq war diverted resources from the hunt for al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bush administration officials believe Iraq is a focal point for international terrorism because former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein could have supplied terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.

Seagal gave his “top five reasons to vote for Kerry,” which he said are the deficit, unemployment rate, Supreme Court appointments, the war in Iraq and Bush’s character issues.

Seagal unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a T-shirt that read, “George Bush, you’re fired” to end his closing statement.

Black Law Student Association President Chevon Brooks described the debate as “completely different from any other forum or debate.”

“This debate had a lot more information that the televised debated didn’t have,” law student Emily Gomez said.

Brooks added that organizers spent a lot of time formatting questions “to make it as fair as possible.”

She added that she was pleased with the debate, describing the debaters as “informed, passionate and eloquent.”

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