CSU, Chico News

Students Put Privatization Issues in Spotlight at Chico Great Debate

Date: 10-08-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Zachary Justus, Coordinator
First-Year Experience Program

Privatization and the role of the government will be in focus for nearly 2,000 students from California State University, Chico and Butte College who will participate in the Chico Great Debate on Friday, Oct. 24, in the Chico City Council Chambers.

Held each semester, the Great Debate is a daylong event featuring speeches, presentations and debates prepared by students on a timely and controversial public issue. The aim is to encourage respectful exchange and collaborative civic learning through civil discourse. Students in first-year communications courses spend the semester researching their topics and preparing to present their findings at the event.

The day begins at 9 a.m. with student presentations and debates every hour. The main event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a debate by students and community advocates on armed private security in downtown Chico. A civic expo, featuring interactive presentations by student groups, will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the City Plaza.

The event will also feature a city council candidate forum from noon to 2 p.m. in the plaza. Candidates for the November elections will deliver brief opening statements and take questions from students and other audience members.

The Great Debate is a component of CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience program, which aims to help new students acclimate to campus life by engaging them in civic activities. A joint project of the University, the City of Chico and Butte College, one of the event’s goals is to restore civility, reason and rhetorical argument to public forums. Prior Great Debate topics have included free speech and protest, education reform, increasing restrictions on immigration, legalizing marijuana and whether California should repeal the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Since its launch in 2010, the program has become a model for other colleges and universities. Butte College joined the program in 2012, placing students from speech courses at the community college alongside their peers from CSU, Chico’s communication classes. Chabot College in Hayward and Shasta College recently patterned programs after Chico’s, and the University of Nevada, Reno and Cleveland State University have plans to do the same.

Volunteers are needed to serve as audience members or moderators for the daytime presentations and debates. To volunteer or to learn more, please contact First-Year Experience Program coordinator Zachary Justus at 898-4387 or zjustus@csuchico.edu.

Learn more about the CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience Program by visiting www.csuchico.edu/fye.