Students to attend historical debate

A select group of students will have will have the privilege to attend the first 2004 Presidential Debate live at the Convocation Center tonight.

Students who wished to attend the debate were required to submit a 250-word essay on the topic “Democracy in Action: Make Your Vote Count.” As of press time, the number of students selected out of the 689 students who applied had not been released. Students with winning essays were notified Tuesday.

Yasser Navarrete, sophomore, is one of the fortunate students whose essay was chosen.

“I was very enthusiastic when I first found out that UM had been selected as the first site back in November of last year, and I’ve been really looking forward to the debate,” Navarrete said. “Even though I already support a candidate, I wanted to have a better understanding of both sides, and witness history.”

Each essay submitted was given a number and put into a category according to the students’ classification – freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate, law and medical students. No preference was given to students in any majors, and all of the essays were blind-graded.

Essays were selected by a four-person committee, headed by Dr. Robert Hosmon, associate dean of the School of Communication.

“The criteria for the essays were quality, how the student handled the subject matter, organization, and the message,” Hosmon said. “The essays were put on a waiting list, pending on the number of seats we received.”

Of the hundreds of essays received, only the top 25 of each group were selected to be waitlisted.

David Leibovitch, sophomore, is one of the hundreds of hopefuls that applied but will not get to attend the debate.

“I am disappointed that I did not get a seat, but I am glad I tried,” Liebovitch said. “I think there are many people who consider politics to be a very important part of their lives, and I hope they were the ones who were ultimately chosen.”

Vanessa Krause can be contacted at


Last week, after living in this country for sixteen years, I submitted my application to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. As I sealed the envelope, I reflected on the promise of this nation, so eloquently articulated by the common men and women who founded it; I reflected on the action of its ordinary citizen who has consistently striven to fulfill its pledge; I reflected on our leaders, who regardless of political ideology, can agree in one thing: Make America Great.

-Yasser Navarette Sophomore

It takes a lot more effort to follow a president’s political actions during a four year term in office than to just research their standpoints for a day in November…The democratic process will be fully realized when people realize that their vote stands for something. And that something is the intent to hold their candidate, if elected, accountable to promises made during their campaigns.

-Margaret Scott Freshman

If there was one thing this last election taught us, it was that an extremely small number of votes can throw the election one way or another. From the looks of the polls, this coming election is going to be one of the closest in history. No matter what people may think, they need to realize that every single vote counts and can make a difference. It is absolutely imperative that all Americans implement their right to vote. This November, I know my voice will be heard, and I will play a role in selecting the next president of the United States.

-Alanna Strauss