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Student-moderated forum provides setting for discussion about Hillary Clinton’s lecture

By Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp '14 on November 1, 2013
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Colgate Provost Doug Hicks helped lead a discussion between Hillary Rodham Clinton and students before the former secretary of state's public lecture October 25. The conversation continued at a brown bag event on Tuesday.

Colgate Provost Doug Hicks helps lead a discussion between Hillary Rodham Clinton and students before the former secretary of state’s public lecture October 25. The conversation continued at a brown bag event on Tuesday. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

After Colgate welcomed former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton back to campus for the latest lecture of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders, the College Democrats and College Republicans hosted an open forum about her speech.

Titled “Debating Hillary: Her Colgate Speech and Record,” the brown bag discussion on Tuesday featured a student-moderated panel with professors Tim Byrnes and Robert Kraynak, both of the Department of Political Science,  serving as co-facilitators.

Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to discuss Clinton’s remarks at Sanford Field House on October 25.

Natalie Sportelli ’15, president of the College Democrats, emphasized the desire for a “bipartisan” discussion.

“Because this is sponsored by both political parties, a broader community of politically minded students, faculty, and staff can come knowing that their voices will be heard,” she said.

That proved to be true as students followed the panelists’ brief comments with their own thoughts on Clinton’s appearance.

A few students took issue with her speech.

“She had some interesting points, but I left feeling like I didn’t learn anything,” said Hannah Loiacono ’16, vice president of the College Republicans.

Other students disagreed, claiming that Clinton’s speech was successful because it did exactly as was intended.

“The lecture series is about leadership in the United States and the world. In Clinton’s talk, she addressed the theme of global leadership, which includes topics like the State Department and Afghanistan,” said Andrew Philipson ’14.

Julia O’Connor ’14  praised Clinton for her Q&A with students before her formal address.

“I was really fired up about the small-group question and answer session. I saw a woman who was not afraid, even when she was given tough questions. She was a dynamic speaker with the small group,” she noted.

The conversation at the brown bag continued with a range of opinions expressed about Clinton — from her supporters and detractors, alike—to a general discussion about politics in America.

Though opinions varied, the co-facilitators, moderators, and students maintained an atmosphere of spirited intellectual debate.

Kraynak concluded the talk with one piece of valuable advice: “Don’t give up critical thinking.”

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