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UMFK to host 2004 presidential debate "debates" on campus

October 1, 2004


The University of Maine at Fort Kent may not be one of the four universities hosting a presidential or even vice presidential debate in this campaign season, but that isn't stopping the campus from holding its own "debates" about the exchanges for the number one and two offices in the country.

Following each of the three presidential debates between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry and the one vice presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards, students, faculty, staff at UMFK, and even local community members, will hold a post debate "debate" of their own.

The idea of holding an open campus discussion and analysis of the debates was the idea of Vladimir Suchan, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and director of the honors program at UMFK.

Suchan, who will facilitate the four sessions, is planning the events as part of UMFK's participation in the American Democracy Project, which encourages civic engagement amongst undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

"These discussions will help provide a better understanding of the issues at stake and available choices in this November's election. They are also designed to reinforce the ideals of participatory democracy involving well-informed and active citizens," said Suchan. "Our analysis of these exchanges will also reinforce the objective of the honors program to strengthen UMFK as an intellectually vibrant community devoted to civic duty and public virtues."

The first of the four post-debate "debates" at UMFK will be held on Monday, October 4 at 12:00 noon in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room.

To begin that session, as well as the three others, Suchan will present videotaped highlights of the debate held on Thursday, September 30 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

The format for all four sessions will include introductory comments by Suchan, video highlights of the debate, and an open discussion on the candidate exchanges.

All sessions will be held in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room at 12:00 noon.

They will include a planned discussion on Wednesday, October 6 following the vice presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; on Wednesday, October 13 following the October 8 second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and on Thursday, October 14 after the final presidential debate on October 13 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Suchan is inviting any interested persons, both at UMFK and in the community to participate in the forums.

He hopes the discussions will help further increase interest and participation in democratic politics, introduce the art of political debate to UMFK students, and serve as an educational demonstration of learning and teaching civics and government in practice.

The post-presidential debate "debates" will be followed by a series of three debates at UMFK for Maine's Second District Congressional race, the State Senate District 35 and House District 1 races on October 18, 19 and 20 respectively.

For more information, contact the university relations office at (207) 834-7557.