UCCS to host gubernatorial debate Oct. 15

Oct. 13, 2014

Samantha Morley

The last debate before governor elections is coming to campus this week.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallogly Events Center, the debate will feature John Hickenlooper (D) and Bob Beauprez (R). Hickenlooper is running for re-election and a second term in office.

Susan Szpyrka, vice chancellor for administration and finance, and Tom Hutton, executive director of university advancement, worked together to bring the debate to campus.

According to Szpyrka, the Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Springs Business Journal and KKTV 11 News approached the university.

“It seemed like a great opportunity for our campus, in particular the students and faculty,” she said. “We want to integrate the opportunity to actually be physically present at the debate.”

Over 100 tickets were sold on Oct. 8, the opening day for sales. Tickets are free with your student ID, one ticket per valid ID.

“This is a tried and true part of our democracy,” Hutton said.

Szpyrka and Hutton went through a detailed schedule and communication process in order to bring the debate to campus.

“Putting on something like this is a lot of work,” Szpyrka said.

“The partners were very anxious for us to be able to do it,” she added. “We were very supportive of wanting to do that we just have to make sure that logistically we could handle it.”

The attendees will be a mixture of students, faculty and staff as well as community members. While there are several media partners, The Scribe will be involved as well.

“We said we really needed to have our student newspaper involved because part of this is the experiential learning that the university can bring,” Szpyrka said.

“Sitting in class and reading about it is completely different to sitting in the arena and listening and watching it and seeing the candidates and knowing that one of those is going to be our governor.”

Jonathan Toman, Scribe editor-in-chief, will be one of the panel members to ask the candidates a question.

“We felt strongly that the student newspaper should have the same access as the other media partners because it’s on our campus,” Szpyrka said.

Additional questions will come from audience members and social media outlets such as Twitter during the event.

Attendees are prohibited from bringing in large bags and campaign paraphernalia. If someone would like to voice their political stance, they can take their signs to the University Center Lower Plaza.

Heckling during the event will not be tolerated. If people are causing a distraction, they will be asked to leave.

Hutton and Szpyrka advise attendees to arrive between 6 and 6:30 p.m. in order to ensure good parking and seat locations. Chairs are first come, first serve. Once the debate begins, attendees will not be allowed to exit and re-enter the auditorium.

The audience is permitted to take photos, but the flash must be turned off. “I think it’s a great honor that the campus was selected as sort of a neutral place to hold these kinds of things,” Hutton said.

The debate will be broadcast live on MyKKTV Channel 11.2 (Comcast Channel 41, Century Link Prism Channel 10). It will also be available online at www.kktv.com, www. gazette.com and www.csindy.com. It will air until the polls close on Nov. 2.

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