SG to host campus carry debate between College Republicans, University Democrats without socialist, libertarian groups

Nashwa Bawab

The International Socialists Organization and Young Americans for Liberty have once again not initially been invited to take part in a Student Government debate.  

This debate will be about the implementation of campus carry, while the previous debate was about general political issues. The two groups were not invited to the previous debate in October until pressure from some Libertarian members persuaded SG hosts to invite the groups the weekend before the debate.

The campus carry debate will take place Nov. 16 and will be primarily focused on the implementation of campus carry on UT’s campus.

Zach Stone, chief justice of SG judicial court who will be a moderator in the debate, said neither of the groups have reached out to him, but he invites them to ask questions during the Q&A session. Stone said he thinks the debate should take place between the University Democrats and College Republicans because the two groups have invested more into the topic.

“These are the two organizations that have had the biggest stake in the issue,” Stone said. “During the legislative debates at the Capitol, they were the ones protesting for either side, they were the ones going down to the Capitol and visiting with legislators and signing petitions, and their stake in this isn’t only ideological but also very practical and very demonstrated, so I think this debate naturally lends itself to yes or no answers, as opposed to a general political debate.”

Ashley Alcantara, communications director for University Democrats, said she does not know about how involved other student groups have been on the issue of campus carry but agrees that those who have the biggest stake in the issue should be the ones allowed to debate.

“I just don’t know how much the other groups have been involved with campus carry,” Alcantara said. “All I know is that we’ve been involved with it a lot, and we definitely deserve to have a say in how it’s implemented.”

The input of the libertarian and socialist groups made the last debate more interesting, as well as brought up issues that would not have been talked about otherwise, said Mukund Rathi, International Socialists Organization member. Rathi said if the issue of campus carry is not discussed in the context of racism, then the conversation is useless.

“Campus carry is likely to disproportionately harm people of color, and so I think based on past experiences with the Democrats and Republicans and based on their performance at the previous debate, it doesn’t look like they’re going to make this a discussion about racism,” Rathi said. “I think [that is] a mistake, and I think that adding in the socialists can help correct that.”

Ashley Kuvet, vice president of Young Americans for Liberty, said she believes the group could be beneficial in presenting a different perspective on the issue. 

"We are founded on principles rather than party alliances and our policy recommendations represent compromise between diverse opinions on how these principles are best implemented into society, something the two majority parties could learn from," Kuvet said.

Stone said limiting the debate to College Republicans and University Democrats would ensure the conversation stays productive. He said he does not want the debate to be about who is for or against campus carry, but rather about how the University should implement the controversial law.

“People say that we’re going to be beating a dead horse, that campus carry has already been hashed out, that people’s minds aren’t going to be swayed,” Stone said.

“We will live in a campus carry world, or at least we will within a year, so it’s more about how will we do that responsibly, whether we like the law
or not.”

This article has been updated to include a comment from Young Americans for Liberty.