DebateWatch leaves lasting effect on Mabee Library

ReAnne Utemark

The last DebateWatch of 2008 in Mabee Library had participants laughing and thinking.

The event hosted speakers and a place to watch the third and final presidential debate of the 2008 election season for 183 members of the Washburn community.

Speakers included Leslie Reynard from the department of communication, who discussed different types of political communication in media, like political commercials, and Bob Beatty from the department of political science who discussed great moments in presidential debate history. One of the best moments, according to Beatty, was when democratic vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen deflated Dan Quayle’s claim that he had as much experience as “Jack Kennedy” did when he ran for president. Bentsen responded with what culminated into the infamous remark, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

After the speakers, attendees watched the debates on various televisions throughout the library. Following the debates, Mark Peterson led a discussion of the issues and the candidates’ claims.

“I think it had a positive effect,” said Alan Bearman, interim dean of university libraries. “It reminded people that the library is an intellectually stimulating place to debate the issues.”

Bearman also said these events gave people a place to sit, visit, talk and debate, and reminded some people what a university is for.

Barb DeSanto, chair of the mass media department, polled the audience before and after each of the debates. Results from those polls can be found on the mass media wiki page at

Many students attended the DebateWatch, and Jenny Mills, president of the Student Friends of Mabee Library, said she hoped to revitalize more of the campus political organizations.

“If the youth are going to get excited about any candidate in any year, it is going to be this year,” said Mills.

The DebateWatch 2008 was sponsored by the following organizations: Washburn Student Government Association, KTWU, Mabee Library, the Student Friends of Mabee Library, the Friends of Mabee Library, Washburn Endowment Association, Washburn Alumni Association, Honors Program, the Department of Communication, the Department of History, the Department of Mass Media and the Department of Political Science.