Republican candidates avoid student issues at campus debate

Spinnaker

While the Republican presidential debate brought a level of national excitement previously unknown to the UNF campus, students may find themselves wondering if the candidates actually understand the issue that matters to them most.There’s no lack of political rhetoric concerning the objective of fixing the economy – the top issue for college students, according to UNF assistant political science professor Dr. Nicholas Seabrook – but substantive and clear strategy rarely seems to surface.“I think it’s frustrating that they continue to attack each other instead of focusing on the issues.” said UNF public relations senior Whitney Croxton after watching the debate. “I think jobs is really a huge issue considering I’ll be looking for a job in April.” Young voters could impact the presidential election if they turned up in the same numbers as other groups, Seabrook said. But there’s an apathy towards the 2012 presidential elections that wasn’t there in 2008 when then presidential-hopeful Barack Obama engaged students.

Seabrook said he hopes that this event will energize students to think about the presidential election and participate.

UNF President John Delaney said one of the reasons UNF was delighted to give students tickets to the debate is for the exposure to the political process.

“We all say to get involved with philanthropies and charities, but being part of the political process is important as well,” Delaney said. “The learning experience is healthier when it’s connected to something real as opposed to in a textbook. Campaigns are as real as it gets.”

Campaigns may be real, but the ideas that candidates promote aren’t necessarily rooted in reality, like Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s plan for a colony on the moon.

“The country is spending money that it doesn’t have, and the $15 million recorded doesn’t even include promises made to welfare dependents and the elderly,” said Yemi Olaogun, a UNF accounting senior. “It’s a train wreck. I still love America and can’t think of a place I’d rather live, but this is getting out of hand. Have you seen the tax code? It’s a disaster.”

Email Erin at [email protected]