Students Debate Key Issues in Preparation for Election

With the gubernatorial election around the corner, students discussed the issues surrounding the upcoming election that are most important to them in an open forum.

The forum was sponsored by the Ramapo College Republicans, the Criminology and Sociology club and the Ramapo College Democrats.

Criminology and Sociology Club President Jordan Moses opened the debate with the basics. He described the two candidates: Chris Christie, republican candidate and current governor, and Barbara Buono, the democratic challenger.

He proceeded to give the candidates' positions on three main issues: education, same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Same-sex marriage wasn't so much of a debate due to its approval this week. However, the students were eager to discuss, and debate, the legalization of marijuana.

"My biggest problem with legalization is either legalize it or don't legalize it. Why do something in the middle?" Brian McAteer, treasurer of the Republican Club. 

In the debate held between Christie and Buono on Oct. 8, both said they are against the legalization of marijuana. However, a few members of the Republican Club agreed that Buono's views have not been consistent: she has supported de-criminalizing, or reducing the legal consequences of being caught with marijuana.

"Additionally," Chris Gabbett, Republican Club president, said, "it's a federal law that made it legal so Colorado and Washington are in direct violation of federal law."

The conversation then moved to education. Christie's ideas were explained: tax credits for those who send their children to private or religious schools and a merit-biased reward system for public school teachers. Being that only the College Republicans were present, the conversation remained mostly on Christie's ideas.

"The scores are only part of the way teachers would be evaluated," Gabbett said. "There are a number of attributes. Scores are simply one of the quantitative ones-because there's actually a number in front of you. They take into account peer reviews, they take into account supervisor reviews, student reviews-there's a lot of different factors that go into it."

The sponsors made sure to remind attendees that Election Day is on Nov. 5 and that the last day to request a mail in ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 29 and must be received by the end of the day on Nov. 5. If students are not going home to vote, this is an option.

"Regardless of if you like a candidate, you like both candidates, you like a third party candidate, it's important to vote," said Moses.