College Republican drop out of debate, Longhorn Libertarians step in

Bobby Blanchard

College Republicans opted out of a Wednesday debate with University Democrats, citing a lack of organization and communication by Hook the Vote, despite debate organizers’ assertions that the debate was planned well in advance.

Earlier this semester, College Republicans and University Democrats agreed to a debate Wednesday hosted by Hook the Vote. Hook the Vote, which has hosted College Republicans/University Democrats debates in previous semesters, is a nonpartisan SG agency that aims to register students to vote and to educate them on issues in the election. Longhorn Libertarians President Jose Niño said his student organization agreed to debate in place of the College Republicans.

Danny Zeng, College Republicans communications director, said his organization felt Hook the Vote did not communicate or publicize the debate early enough in advance. Zeng said Hook the Vote was slow in getting a moderator, making a Facebook event and reserving a room. Zeng said before last week, all College Republicans knew was the debate’s date.

“CR officers re-evaluated the whole situation and saw absolutely no benefits for us to stage a dog-and-pony show, putting our members through debate prep, for a group of maybe twenty highly partisan college students,” Zeng said in an email.

Hook the Vote director Billy Calve said that University Democrats and College Republicans were informed of the debate’s date and format throughout the semester.

“All of the organizations participating in Hook the Vote have been made aware of the debate, and they were sharing the information with the members,” Calve said. “That covers a wide area of campus.”

More than 30 political, social and other student organizations are partnered with Hook the Vote.

University Democrat Leslie Tisdale said this move by College Republicans is detrimental to both the debate and political conversations on campus.

“I think it really hurts their cause and their club,” Tisdale said.

Calve said by dropping from the debate, the College Republicans hurt Hook the Vote’s efforts to inform students about issues from all sides of the political spectrum.

“The purpose of this debate is to inform students about the issues both parties are promoting,” Calve said. “If we don’t have one of those sides represented, students are not hearing about all the options.”

The debate will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday in Gearing Hall, room 105. Susannah Jacob, The Daily Texan’s editor-in-chief, will moderate the debate. Both University Democrats and Longhorn Libertarians will have three students represent them at the debate.

Published on October 24, 2012 as: "Longhorns Libertarians step in for Republicans"