On Monday, Oct. 25, the Samford University College Republicans and Samford University College Democrats hosted their 2nd annual policy debate. The event was open to the university and also livestreamed on both chapters’ Instagram accounts.
SUCR Chairman Alan Crisologo and SUCD President Faith Jones introduced the debate and the debate moderator. Jacob Patton moderated the debate and asked questions to each pair of debaters that related to one of three topics.
The first topic debated was minimum wage. Sophomores Katelyn Mattos and Mikayla Mattos debated this first topic for the Republican side, and Senior Tristan Mullen debated for the Democrats’ side.
Both Katelyn and Mikayla said that they did not believe there should be a minimum wage in the United States, because people should be paid based only on their skill level. They said that raising the minimum wage in the country would only increase unemployment and challenges for small businesses.
“No one is saying the minimum wage won’t help – it will help some people. But 1.4 to 2.7 million people will lose their jobs. That is absolute insanity,” Katelyn said.
The Democrats’ side disagreed. Mullen said the United States government is looking at raising the minimum wage gradually, rather than all at once, which will benefit many people. He also said the minimum wage will help those who are unable to work anything higher than entry-level jobs.
“We obviously need to raise the minimum wage to match the rising cost in living, rising cost in childcare, etc. etc,” Mullen said.
The next topic discussed by debaters was immigration. Sophomore Maddox Gates argued this topic for the SUCD, and Sophomore Makenzie Ward argued for the SUCR.
Gates offered statistics regarding the backlog of immigration into the United States. According to Gates, there are currently 986,000 immigration cases and 70,000 asylum cases backlogged due to clogs in the U.S. court system, which leads to an average of 3.5 years for an immigration case to be completed. He suggested reform in the U.S. courts, such as an increase in court staffing and funding.
“We believe that the United States federal government and all relevant sub-federal actors should greatly ease the federal backlog,” Gates said.
Ward emphasized border security in her argument for the Republican side. She said that the lengthy immigration process is necessary to ensure that dangerous people are not entering the country. Ward said she recognizes the difficulty of the topic and does not condone the mistreatment of families at the border.
“I feel like we do need to have really strong laws; we do need to deport those who come into our country illegally. But we also can show them love and provide them with a meal and show them love in whatever way Jesus would,” Ward said.
The last topic on the table was COVID-19 regulations. Freshman Lilian Ross spoke for the SUCD. She argued against the loosening of regulations and personal choice, both on campus and around the country.
“When we leave it up to choice, we are essentially opening up the door for this specific virus to mutate into something far more severe than any of us can handle,” Ross said.
Freshman Kendall Jarrard argued this topic for the SUCR. She brought statistics to the audience to support her argument that the federal government should not make personal decisions for the American people.
“If you are fearful and, let’s say, high risk, then go ahead and protect yourself. You have all the right to do that,” Jarrard said. “My argument is that the federal government should not be deciding what is good or what is not good for the American people. That should be up to the individual.”
The policy debate offered a great opportunity for Samford students to practice their debating skills and for those in attendance to hear the opinions of the two parties as represented by the Samford chapters.