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Office of Public Policy Events Plans Student Debate

Tim Belizaire
Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Mark Rieger, introduced Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George at the OPPE debate held in October, 2023.

FGCU’s Office of Public Policy Events (OPPE) will be hosting an open forum on Feb. 7 surrounding the question, “Is Social Media Censorship Protecting or Limiting College Students?” This event will be a student debate between Student Government President Emory Cavin and Chief of Staff Tanner Kelly, who also serves as the student representative in the OPPE. 

This event follows the OPPE debate on affirmative action that was held on Oct. 16 where Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George held a discussion on “Affirmative Action in University Admissions and the Cost of Higher Education.” According to Kelly, members of the office were hoping to see a larger student presence at the event which is why they chose to have students lead the debate this semester. 

“The office hopes to provide students with the competing viewpoints of a complex and heavily debated topic, we’re also [hoping] to demonstrate civility in the sharing of ideas and show how it’s possible to have a contentious discussion of ideas without it bleeding into personal attacks or immaturity,” Kelly said. 

The OPPE received feedback after the debate in October where audience members expressed frustration with the lack of debate, hoping to see less agreement between the speakers, according to Kelly. For the upcoming debate, Cavin and Kelly will give opening statements on the topic and then open the discussion to the public. 

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“We encourage students to come ready to speak out and share ideas,” Kelly said.

This debate will be moderated by the Founder and Executive Director of Incubate Debate, James Fishback. It will take place in Edwards Hall 112 on Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. Free food will be provided, according to an email from Tammy McCaslin. 

“I think that in order to truly understand civility you have to practice it. Through this event, students will be able to have an important conversation about censorship while also getting hands-on experience disagreeing with other people in a professional and civil way,” Cavin said.

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About the Contributors
Abigail Muth
Abigail Muth, Eagle News Editor-in-Chief
Abigail Muth is a senior studying journalism and was a transfer student from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Abbey was born and raised in the Cleveland area and wanted to be a teacher until her sophomore year when she discovered a passion for writing. Her dream job would be to write features or shoot documentaries for companies like National Geographic or Patagonia. Abbey is passionate about the outdoors and traveling and hopes that one day she will be able to incorporate those things into her career. When not editing or writing stories or responding to emails, Abbey can be found reading on her lanai or walking her puppy on the beach!
Tim Belizaire
Tim Belizaire, Eagle News Assistant Photo Editor
Tim Belizaire is a junior majoring in journalism. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Cape Coral when he was 12. His goal is to either venture into photojournalism or investigative journalism. Tim spends his free time taking pictures or listening to Lana Del Rey for hours.

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