Republican debate presents historic educational opportunity for UM students

Next Thursday night, the University of Miami will serve as the venue for the 12th-televised Republican debate at the BankUnited Center. The opportunity to host a national presidential debate is incredibly rare and regardless of what students think of the candidates, the UM community must take advantage of this opportunity to witness and participate in the political process.

As the campus prepares for the arrival of Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz and UM alum Senator Marco Rubio, among others, eyes around the nation will be turning to Coral Gables. No doubt will reporters and social media platforms be seeking out student opinions, so this is an invaluable opportunity for us to express our ideas, stand up for our principles and represent this university well under the national spotlight.

We have the fortune of greeting the fervor of this election season directly at our front door. Students may even have the chance to either support their candidates or make their disagreements known in the presence of the candidates themselves. It is expected that in a community with such a large Hispanic population, certain Republican candidates may meet vocal opposition. Some students have planned on using the debate as a platform for peaceful protests.

President Julio Frenk has condemned the  anti-immigrant rhetoric in the presidential race during an interview with CBS4, comparing some proposals to those of Nazi Germany. That UM is hosting this debate, despite any ideological differences that may exist between our administration and Republican frontrunners, is a testament to the university’s values of free speech and open discourse.

Whether for or against the individuals on stage next Thursday, students in Miami next week should stick around campus. The lottery tickets for the debate audience have already been confirmed, but students can still gain educational value from the event even if just by standing outside the door. Politics can be frustrating and complicated; sometimes, it can seem like a carnival. But we also have the incredible opportunity to be actively involved in what will be a historic election season, and as young, college-educated voters, it is our responsibility to show up.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.