Update (March 18): Harris sent the following statement, announcing that plans for the event had been derailed.
“It’s quite unfortunate that we will not be able to host another Great Debate. The event would have served as a tremendous follow-up to last years debate between Robert Gibbs and Newt Gingrich and a great way to cap off the year. Complications like this happen in the world of politics, but we won’t skip a beat. Congressman Glenn Thompson will be joining us on Monday, March 17th, and on March 25th we will be hosting the NRA for their NRAU seminar.
“It is a testament to UPUA, and to the long standing relationship between the College Republicans and College Democrats at Penn State. We may disagree ideologically on a myriad of issues but at the core we both understand the importance of engaging our fellow students in the political process. I am thankful to Nadia and to their organization for their work on this.
“Even in the absence of a second Great Debate we could not be more proud of the list of events, speakers, and seminars that the College Republicans have hosted in the past few years. Our accomplishments and rapid growth have been unprecedented, and we are no where near our ceiling. Truth Week 2014 will be here before you know it.”
The year of great speakers at Penn State will continue, College Republicans President Jordan Harris confirmed yesterday. Plans are falling in place for libertarian icon Ron Paul and Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein to debate on campus in April, pending funding approval from UPUA and UPAC. The evening is being dubbed as the “Great Debate” following the inaugural event with Newt Gingrich and Robert Gibbs last year.
“We’re incredibly excited for the potential of welcoming Dr. Paul to campus,” Harris said. “It’s going to be more of a discussion this time, but the two figures will offer strong contrasting views on a broad range of issues from the state of the American economy to America’s role in the world.”
The event will take place on April 15 at Eisenhower Auditorium, if UPUA and UPAC approve the funding. The venue and speaker schedules have been reserved, and UPUA will likely vote on a co-sponsorship next week, with UPAC to follow soon after. The College Democrats and Young Americans for Freedom, along with the College Republicans, are also lined up to sponsor.
“The chance to follow up last year’s debate between Robert Gibbs and Newt Gingrich with two enormous figures like Dr. Paul and Carl Bernstein, who have both been keys to shaping the political landscape in the past 50 years, is tremendous,” Harris said. “No other university in the country can boast such magnificent events and we are both positive and hopeful that everything can fall in to place to make it happen here at Penn State.”
Information on how to obtain free tickets will be released in the coming weeks, pending approval.
Paul is most certainly one of the biggest “rockstars” in politics to the college audience. He represented Texas in Congress until retiring in 2013, and was a stalwart for libertarian, free market politics. The three-time presidential candidate will be returning to Pennsylvania, having grown up just outside of Pittsburgh and graduated from Gettysburg College.
Bernstein won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 at the Washington Post for his coverage of the Watergate scandal. He is currently a CNN contributor and has authored or co-authored six books. Penn State’s journalism department is certainly happy; Bernstein’s counterpart at the Post during the Richard Nixon scandal, Bob Woodward, will be on campus next week at a different event sponsored by SPA.