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Senator John Kerry

On September 30, John Kerry faces George W. Bush for the first presidential debate. Various student groups are throwing a debate-watching party at the West Bank Auditorium of the Twin Cities campus.

Party and learn: Students, staff, and faculty will gather together to watch the

Students, staff, and faculty will gather together to watch the first presidential debate

Published on September 29, 2004

See John and George debate on the big screen at the West Bank Auditorium (Room 175, Willey Hall, 225 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis) and enjoy that favorite student offering--free food. At 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) Thursday, September 30, students from the University Political Science Association, College Greens, College Republicans, University DFL, and the Socialist Alternative will host a debate-watching party to view the first of three presidential debates over the next two weeks between President George W. Bush and U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Following the broadcast, a moderator will lead a discussion about what the candidates said and what students learned from the debate.

The upcoming presidential debates could play a major role in the outcome of the election, says Edward Schiappa, University communication studies professor. "A great deal of research on previous debates has shown that they can help make up undecided voters' minds. In a close election, where polls show attitude swings every week, the debates could be decisive," he says. "It is unlikely that the debates will change how people think about President Bush, because they have had four years of exposure to him and already know a lot about him," says Schiappa. "But many voters still do not feel they 'know' Kerry, and the debates provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about him."

All interested University faculty, students, and staff are invited to attend the debate-watching event.