PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE 2012 AT HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY: AN INSIDE STORY

Behind- the- Scenes work at the Debate Arena.
photo by: Jeanine Russaw

Hofstra University staff and students have settled down from the excitement of the debate that took place the evening of Tuesday, October 16. Organizations that have been working since last semester leading up to the debate can now settle down and go back to their ‘regular agendas’. Excited student volunteers can now post their photos of their credentials on social networking sites and tell all their friends what they were doing on the day of the debate. They were having a once in a life time experience and becoming a part of history.

Numerous Hofstra students volunteered for the 2012 Presidential Debate.  Among them were the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists’ President Claudia Balthazar, Vice President Tatiana Brown, Managing Editor Jeanine Russaw and Podcast Personnel Arielle Burton.

Other students who weren’t volunteering for the debate were eligible to enter a lottery for a ticket into the Debate Hall.  Molly Tette, a junior, Business Management major at Hofstra University was among them. “I was so excited that I was running and screaming down the hall,” she said, referring to when she received the confirmation email about being able to attend the Debate. She continued, “The whole experience seeing it is so much fun. It’s like the difference between watching a baseball game from home versus actually going to the stadium.”

Although student volunteers weren’t eligible for a ticket into the debate, minutes before the event began, 30 student volunteers were asked to draw a number in order to be seat fillers in the Debate. Burton, was asked to pull a number and she pulled “a lucky number three” she said. “I was so excited. I knew that something great was going to happen,” Burton exclaimed.

Tuesday night’s moderator was CNN’s political reporter Candy Crowley. It was the first time seeing a women moderator for the Presidential Debate in 20 years. New Jersey Montclair High School students, Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel pushed to see a woman moderator for this Presidential Debate.

Back in August, they had a petition of over 100, 000 signatures that they wanted to hand to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Post Debate, Axelrod said on the Washington Post.com that she believes Crowley did a fantastic job. “It’s unclear how much, if any, of the CPD’s [Commission on Presidential Debates] decision can be attributed to the work Sammi, Elena and I put into raising awareness of the need for more gender equality on the debate floor (they refused to  meet with us and refused our petitions when we tried to deliver them), but the change we wanted had still been made,” she said.

Debate at Hofstra University was very heated, and questions were asked by voters in a Town Hall style. The final debate for 2012 will be on Monday October 22 at Lynn University and its topic will be foreign policy. Elections are on November 6, another day to make history and leave your mark—especially at Hofstra.

-Claudia Balthazar

Published in Black Ink, the official newsletter for the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists

http://habjblackink.com/2012/10/21/presidential-debate-2012-at-hofstra-university-an-inside-story/

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