Students debate safe spaces on college campus

first_imgTrevor Sochocki | Daily TrojanTalk it out · Trojan British Parlimentary Debate Team members Noha Ayoub and Rebecca Hu participated in the debate on Monday evening.The Political Student Assembly and the Trojan British Parliamentary Debate Team sponsored a debate Monday evening regarding whether “safe spaces” are detrimental or beneficial to college education.Four members of the Trojan British Parliamentary Debate Team debated the issue at the PSA meeting, bringing up social issues like sexual assault on college campuses, the Black Lives Matter movement, the purpose of college education and marginalized groups in society. Following the half-hour debate, the team opened up the discussion to audience members and answered questions from Political Student Assembly members. PSA Assistant Director Maddy Taras said that she was pleased with the event and emphasized the importance of the issue. “I think it’s really important that students are aware of both sides to any controversial topic and any topic in general, so it was really great that some of the panelists agreed with their position and some of them didn’t agree with their position,” Taras said. “I think it’s really healthy discourse for people to hear both sides to any argument.”Noha Ayoub, one of the debaters, said that the purpose of the event was to demonstrate how the debate team discusses controversial issues related to the college experience. “PSA invited the British Parliamentary Debate Team to come and demonstrate what we do on a more controversial issue relating to the college experience,” Ayoub said. “We talked about safe spaces because it’s one of the most important things people are talking about right now with regards to the purpose of the college experience.”According to Ayoub, the team, which is finishing up its fifth year, is one of few places on campus where students are encouraged to express their opinions freely with others who may not feel the same way. “It’s one of the few places on campus where you’re allowed to engage with other people who disagree with you in a way that’s meaningful,” Ayoub said. “Even when we do talk about controversial issues in which people disagree, we’re able to do it in a way that’s less name-calling and more rationalizing arguments.”Another debater, Jori Barash, said that this particular debate presented the challenge of appealing to a broader audience.“When we debate something like this, it’s very specific in our context — we’ll be debating a particular element of it or at such a high level of breadth, you don’t get to talk about it like you would with another person over a dinner table,” Barash said. “Talking to people who are not debaters was an interesting challenge to not use debate words and be convincing in a general way to anybody.” Barash, who has been involved in the club since his freshman year, said that the club engages students well because new issues are presented each week. “I love all of my clubs, but in a lot of clubs you’ll do the activity that you do, get what you want out of it and then start to focus on other things as a junior or senior. What I love about debate is that, because you’re debating something new every week, we don’t lose engagement,” Barash said. “You can always compete, learn new things and meet new people, and it’s a really nice respite from the rest of campus.”last_img

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