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Oct. 26, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

Norton moderates campus debate

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - If PBS's Jim Lehrer, CNN's Candy Crowley, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS's Bob Schieffer can moderate presidential election debates so can SRU's President Cheryl Norton.

Norton will take on the task when Pi Sigma Alpha, the campus political science honorary, hosts "The Next Great Presidential Debate" at 8 p.m., Oct. 30, in Spotts World Culture Building Auditorium.

Debate participants will include representatives of the SRU College Democrats, SRU College Republican and SRU Libertarians. The panelists will present President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney's positions on a number of major issues in the campaign.

The presidential election is Nov. 6.

Panelists will be:

  • Justin D'Antonio, political science major from Butler;
  • Dane Patricelli, a safety management major from Butler;
  • Jennifer Brozovich, a political science major from Pittsburgh;
  • Emily Buck, resort recreation management major from Kempton;
  • Chris Penco, history major from Allison Park;
  • Josh Weitzel, political science major from Prospect;
  • Ciera Cramer, political science major from Salem, Ohio;
  • Aristotle Vincent Piso, political science major from Cranberry Township;
  • Keith Crandell, political science major from Pittsburgh; and
  • Becky Solomon, political science major from Cranberry Township.
The format of the debate was set by the honorary. It also picked the topics and selected the questions, which were shared in advance with the panelists. Norton will also ask an undisclosed question prepared by David Kershaw, assistant professor of political science, and Sharon Sykora, associate professor of political science.

The plan calls for a brief introduction by Norton, then six question segments, each running six minutes - two minutes for each of the three debate teams followed by one-minute rebuttals from each team

Each team will also be given two minutes for closing statements at the end of the debate.

WSRU-FM, 88.1, will live-stream the debate.

The questions to be presented are:


  1. Some have argued the U.S. federal government should only provide financial aid to those who pursue "job ready" credentials. If your candidate is elected, what careers and credentials will be prioritized? (Follow up: Would your candidate prioritize science and math over other fields...and how would this be done? Would your candidate prioritize funding for students who want technical/vocational training?)
  2. Does your candidate support the use of vouchers for PK12 students? What is the rationale for your candidate's position?
  3. It seems like both of the major parties want to lower the corporate tax rates to increase competition within the United States and encourage people to expand businesses in the United States. However, little has been said about penalties for those who outsource jobs. What would your candidate do to discourage outsourcing? Please be specific.

Foreign Policy

  1. Compare the foreign policies of the G.W. Bush administration and the Obama administration. What were the strengths and weaknesses of their policies, and how will your candidate build on their successes? What, as well, would your candidate do differently?
  2. Iran fully intends to obtain nuclear weapons. Under what conditions would your candidate support a joint U.S. and Israel military strike against Iran in order to prevent Tehran from succeeding in building nuclear weapons?
  3. In the presidential debates there was little mention of the relationship of the U.S. to other countries of the world beyond countries in the Middle East and China. Describe the relationship to other countries that are significant actors on the world stage to your candidate would hope to build as our next president? In particular, address the relationship between the U.S. and countries in Africa, Japan, India and even the European Union?


  1. How would your candidate make healthcare affordable and available to 18 to 25 year olds?
  2. What reforms to current health care policy (Obamacare) would your candidate support, and what would the impact be on student access to insurance and healthcare?


  1. Since the financial crisis that began in September of 2008, the government has intervened in the economic realm in order to stabilize the economy. Which Bush or Obama era policies worked? Which haven't? And in what ways could your candidate make a difference, in the short term, in terms of jobs and unemployment levels?
  2. The U.S. debt currently exceeds $16 trillion. Most people agree we must act to reduce this burden. However, people disagree on how to go about reducing the debt. Specifically, which domestic, entitlement and/or military programs would your candidate cut?

Women's Issues

  1. How would your candidate work to ensure that women begin to receive equal pay in comparison to men in the workforce?
  2. What is your candidate's position on abortion? Specifically, under what conditions does your candidate think abortion should be allowed? Would your candidate appoint Supreme Court justices who would be likely to overturn Roe v. Wade? Does your candidate support public funding for Planned Parenthood? Does your candidate support requiring employers and insurance companies to cover birth control (abortion)?

Gay Rights

  1. The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman and allows states to refuse to recognize as legitimate same sex marriage laws in other states. Several weeks ago, a federal appeals court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Would your candidate support a constitutional amendment that solely defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman?

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.