Speech and Debate team hosts political panel fundraiser

By Jeremy Wenick

Six journalists and political professionals participated in a panel regarding Trump’s administration and the world of politics Oct. 24 in the auditorium. Speech and Debate team speech captain Valerie Akinyoyenu introduced the panel, held as a fundraiser for the Speech and Debate team, and team president Elisa McCartin and vice president Camille Caldera co-moderated.

Participants included PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just, Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker (‘01), political strategist Brian Walsh, Washington Post columnists Dana Milbank and Jennifer Rubin and managing director of Hamilton Place Strategies Michael Steel.

The event opened with a discussion about political party shifts and the growing schism among Republicans followed by domestic issues such as gun control, immigration, inflamed racial tensions and the challenges of reporting objectively. McCartin and Caldera introduced the topics by asking each panelist questions they compiled with Speech and Debate sponsor Colin O’Brien.

Many students said they enjoyed the diverse opinions represented on the panel.

“The answers were pretty interesting,” sophomore Eva Ginns said. “To hear the different perspectives but kind of the same broad topics that we’re already familiar with.”

The panel’s second portion was devoted to foreign policy and the threats posed by North Korea and ISIS. Many panelists voiced their concern about Trump’s nature.

“When you have someone who is erratic, who is provocative, who says something in one moment and another thing in the next, both our allies and our adversaries get very confused,” Rubin said during the panel.

The event concluded with Akinyoyenu posing questions submitted by audience members to the panelists.

“I really liked the audience questions,” junior Reggie Rudd said. “It made everything more interactive.”

O’Brien was satisfied with the end result and hopes to host another panel next year, he said.

“I want to do it again because it’s fun,” O’Brien said. “The community really appreciates this,”

Valerie Akinyoyenu is an Online Managing Editor, Camille Caldera is an Online Copy Editor and Elisa McCartin is an Opinion Editor for The Black & White.