Student Affairs hosts third ‘Democracy and Donuts’
Student-led panel tackles Trump’s first months in office
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Last Thursday, the Division of Student Affairs hosted the third installment of its “Democracy and Donuts” discussion series. This session featured a panel from several student leaders who discussed the first months of President Donald Trump’s term.
The panel consisted of student leaders from the College Republicans, the College Democrats, the Black Student Union, the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), and the International Student Association. Student Government Association President Austin Mehmet moderated the panel.
“Democracy and Donuts” began as an opportunity for students to share their thoughts about Trump’s election last November, and that event has evolved into an ongoing series of political discussions that feature opposing viewpoints.
The panel discussed several topics, including immigration, Trump’s controversial Twitter usage, healthcare, national security, and more. Opinions on these topics varied greatly between the panelists, with some siding with Trump’s actions on these issues and others opposed.
One topic where the panel appeared particularly split was Trump’s handling of immigration. Edwin Robles, who represented OLAS, expressed concern over the Trump administration’s stance on undocumented immigrants.
“I know so many people that are scared,” Robles said, referencing uncertainty about the future of undocumented immigrants and their families who may now face deportation.
In response, Dominic Chiappano expressed concerns about the possibility of admitting hostile foreign nationals. “We want this country full of people who want to be here. We want to ensure the safety of all Americans,” Chiappano said. Chiappano represented the College Republicans on the panel.
The members of the panel were also able to find common ground. Most notably, the group supported increased political involvement among students, and viewed the “Democracy and Donuts” events as one way to accomplish this.
“I think, honestly, they’re one of the best things a school can do,” Chiappano said.
The discussion also attracted spectators from outside the UIS community. High school student Peter Forberg stopped to listen to the discussion, and shared his thoughts during the open question-and-answer portion.
“You get to understand not only how other people feel, but also how they think,” Forberg said about the discussion.
There’s no word yet on whether “Democracy and Donuts” will continue in the future.