CSU, Chico News

Chico Great Debate Focuses on Politics and Elections

Date: 10-10-2016

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

As befitting the election season, the topic for the fall 2016 Chico Great Debate, to be held Friday, Oct. 21, will be “Politics, Elections and Citizenship.” The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. in the Chico City Council Chambers, 421 Main St., and will continue throughout the day in multiple downtown locations.

Every semester, CSU, Chico, Butte College and the city of Chico collaborate on the Chico Great Debate with the goal of creating a public space for civil discourse where the American ideals of civility, reason, respect and rhetorical argument are put into action. Students—many of whom are new to college and university course work—have the opportunity to research topics related to the chosen issue, and then debate and make presentations on the topic.

The event focuses on a timely and controversial public issue. Topics for discussion at the Chico Great Debate, which are chosen by students, will include Electoral College reforms, immigration, the death penalty, the plastic bag ban, voting protocol and registration rights, Black Lives Matter and political protests and changing the two-party political system.

The Chico Great Debate will conclude with a “Main Event Debate” at 6:30 p.m. The evening debate will examine the influence of the media in the American political process. It will feature community advocates and CSU, Chico debate team members.

This event will also feature a candidates’ forum from noon-2 p.m. in the Chico City Plaza featuring short speeches by current candidates for the Chico City Council followed by a question-and-answer period.

As in past Chico Great Debates, a Civic Expo will also be held during the day in City Plaza. Students and community partners will present projects related to politics and elections.

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.

Prior Great Debate topics have included higher education, technology, free speech and protest and increasing restrictions on immigration.

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 the community college’s speech courses alongside students from CSU, Chico’s communication classes.

More information on the Great Debate may be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/fye/greatdebate/and https://www.facebook.com/GDChico.