In the second and third presidential debates on Friday, College juniors Matt Amalfitano and Grant Dubler addressed diversity issues and community service.
On Friday night, Amalfitano and Dubler spoke before constituents of the 5B, which consists of the United Minorities Council, the Asian Pacific Student Council, the Latino Coalition, the Lambda Alliance and UMOJA, Penn’s black student group. In addition, representatives from the Penn Consortium for Undergraduate Women and PRISM, Penn’s interfaith student group, were also present.
Each student group submitted two questions to ask the candidates and after the questions were answered, audience members had the opportunity to ask their own questions.
The candidates addressed a range of different issues, from health care for transsexual students and staff, the departmentalization of the Latin American and Latino Studies program and the increase in size of the Asian American Studies and South Asia Studies Departments.
Both candidates spoke about ways in which they had worked with minority communities in the past and ways in which they planned to further the goals of the respective minority student groups.
Among the points that Amalfitano emphasized throughout the debate was the idea that the Undergraduate Assembly president should have a hand in assisting the planning of cultural events on campus.
Dubler spoke of “bringing the African culture that exists here on campus with the African culture that exists in West Philly.”
Amalfitano advocated for increasing access to funding for religious groups and possibly bringing additional chaplains to campus. He also added that he would like for the question of religion at Penn to be addressed on the PULSE survey, which is administered to gauge campus climate.
In response to an audience question about how the candidates would try to understand individual minority perspectives, Dubler’s remark that he is “never going to understand exactly how minority students feel on campus” received snaps and applause from the crowd.
Dubler and Amalfitano also squared off earlier in the day at a debate sponsored by the Civic House Associates Coalition.
The candidates discussed academically-based community service classes, among other topics related to community outreach.
Dubler said the classes should be part of the undergraduate core curriculum, while Amalfitano said eliminating unnecessary undergraduate requirements would allow students in those schools to take ABCS classes more easily.
Both candidates also emphasized the unifying ability of community service across disparate groups at Penn.
Another debate, sponsored by the Residential Advisory Board and the University Honor Council, is being held on Saturday at noon. The final debate, sponsored by The Daily Pennsylvanian, will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Staff writer Victor Gamez contributed reporting to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.