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Friday, September 21, 2018

Opinion

Staff editorial: GOP debate good for the school, bad for students


Finally, after months of speculation, the GOP debate will in fact be held at UH on Feb. 25.

This is a great opportunity for UH to prove it can be in the national spotlight: only one other university was chosen to host a GOP debate so far in the election cycle.

We at The Cougar are especially excited because, as journalists, we get to cover an event with such national recognition and engage in what could be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

But there are 800 seats available, and they are CNN’s. The University requested a certain amount of tickets, which we don’t know the fate of, or who UH deems worthy enough to attend the event. Normally, that classification tends to include the Board of Regents, notable alumni and various Houston community leaders.

Long story short, virtually no students will be allowed in the debate.

The only way students will have a chance to see the candidates will be to volunteer for CNN or the individual campaigns, but those spots are limited as well.

We understand the need to limit the possibility of protests or interruptions, but what’s the point of having a debate at a university if students aren’t allowed to participate?

Some may disagree with the candidates’ stances, but they still want to have honest conversations about issues pertaining to college students.

Using the campus as a backdrop for the debate and focusing on UH’s upcoming moment in the national spotlight is great. But if students are not included in — or even able to listen to — the conversation, how are we supposed to feel engaged?

This event is a fantastic opportunity for UH and for Houston, but unless students are able to be involved in ways other than volunteering, the debate’s location at University of Houston, or any university, is arbitrary.

— The Cougar Editorial Board

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