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University Community Gathers to Watch Presidential Debates


Democrats and Republicans may be miles apart on the issues, but they’ll be together—at least physically—during the presidential and vice presidential debates.

The “November 4th Election Series” is an ongoing program that gathers political junkies of all stripes to watch the debates and election returns in O’Keefe Commons on the Rose Hill campus.

“We feel that it’s important to engage students, faculty and staff at this important time in the nation’s history,” said Jennifer M. Mussi, Ph.D., assistant dean of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development.

More than 110 people watched the first verbal sparring match between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, Mussi said. Many attendees stuck around afterward to engage in spirited conversation about the issues. Attendance is expected to increase as Election Day approaches, she added.

The series began in 2004, when Mussi and Christopher Rogers, dean of students at Rose Hill, were stationed at the Lincoln Center campus. Rodgers said that the debates are well attended because this presidential election is attracting the attention of young voters in a way that other recent elections have not.

“Young people are very interested in this election, especially young people at Fordham,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of Obama t-shirts and McCain signs around campus. Our students want to talk about [the election], and it’s good for the University to have this neutral space where ideas can be exchanged informally.”

Of course, the large projection television and American-style refreshments (think hot apple cobbler and apple pie, among other snacks) probably don’t hurt the turnout either.

The remaining schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 2
vice presidential debate

Tuesday, Oct. 7
second presidential debate

Wednesday, Oct. 15
third presidential debate

Tuesday, Nov. 4
election returns

The “November 4th Election Series” is sponsored by the Dean of Students at Rose Hill, Residential Life, Office of Student Leadership and Community Development, the Alcohol and Other Drug Education Program, USG, RHA, CSA, College Democrats, Young Republicans, Community Service, Peer Educators, American Age, and The Ram.


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