© 2022 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Main Banner Background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Sign up now for BPR's Weekly Update enews

SCC Debates Highlight Student's Voices During Election Season

Photo courtesy of Southwestern Community College
Maria Salgado Rivera, a student in the Social Problems class, asks her question to State Rep. Mike Clampitt (R) and challenger Joe Sam Queen (D).

 Debates are a chance for candidates to share their views with constituents in hopes to win their votes. One local debate series gives candidates that opportunity while also showcasing what local students care about says Dr. Bucky Dann of Southwestern Community College.


“The debate tonight is hosted by the class members our Social Problems class here at Southwestern Community College,” announced Dr. Dann who is the debate moderator.  

“They are the ones who have been discussing these issues for weeks and have come up with the questions that they wish to ask.”  


Dr. Dann has been teaching the Social Problems Class at the school for over 10 years. This is their 4th year hosting debates. He says students from across the political spectrum take the class.


“They enjoy being able to be a part of the political process and they enjoy being able to ask a candidate a question directly - that’s something that you don’t usually get a chance to do, ” says Dann.


Students write and ask all of the questions at the debates. The order is based on what they feel is most important. At the most recent one between Joe Sam Queen and state representative Mike Clampitt, the first five questions pertained to: Education spending, gerrymandering, broadband internet access, voter ID and the six constitutional amendments on the ballot.


Like any class, students take it for a variety of reasons from interests in the topics to just needing credit.


Freshman transfer student Jacob Sloop hopes to work for the National Forest Service one day and says he’s one of the most conservative students in the class.


The class focuses more on understanding the issues at stake on the local and state levels not arguing points of view, he says.


“I’m always open ears to what other people have to say,” says Sloop. “You never know if you’re actually 100 percent right so it’s always good to listen to somebody else’s opinion.”


The next SCC debate is Thursday,October 25th at 7pm between incumbent Republican state senator Jim Davis and his Democratic challenger Bobby Kuppers.


Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
Related Content