Students, alumnus discuss political issues at Speak Up, Speak Out panel

Panelists discussed immigration, the environment, and tuition increases


Panelists discuss issues relating to midterm elections at Speak Up, Speak out on Oct. 23 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium. 

The midterm elections have the potential to change our economy, environment, immigration, healthcare, and so much more. 

Panelists and those in attendance weighed in on what they felt was at stake in the upcoming midterm elections during a Speak Up, Speak Out forum on Oct. 23. Speak Up, Speak Out is a series of forums with the purpose of encouraging public discussion on major current events. 

The panel consisted of four Central Michigan University students and an alumnus who shared their expertise on each topic. The panelists were:

  • Junior Anna Dean, College Republicans vice president 
  • Junior Alexander Sarantis, economics major  
  • Sophomore Lance Wood, College Democrats membership director and president of the Civil Discourse Society 
  • Nathan Inks, 2012 Alumnus, Speak Up, Speak Out planning committee member
  • Junior Julia Dobija, Refugee Outreach Collective president 

One of the main issues discussed during the forum was the environment. Recently, a report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted catastrophic climate change in the year 2030, based on current greenhouse gas emissions.

Those in attendance wanted to know what politicians should do about the situation.

Inks said the biggest problem is a lack of knowledge and education in the area of climate change, along with a sense of having to sacrifice the economy to fund environmental programs. 

“The problem is people don’t want to generally spend more money now to resolve those issues," Inks said. "It just keeps getting pushed down the road, and ends up costing humanity and society significantly more."

One possible solution is coming up with a way to change the mentality of viewing an investment in environmental issues as a loss for the economy. 

Panelists and the audience shared their thoughts and feelings regarding immigration. Dobija said deciding how much immigration benefits our country makes migrants seem less like people and more like pawns. Nonetheless, she believes migrants can truly have a positive influence on the economy.

"Immigrants are 50 percent more likely to start businesses, which is much higher than people who were born in the United States," Dobija said. 

Another issue brought up was college tuition and trade schools. Sarantis said increases in tuition could correlate with the high demand for a college or university education. The growing rate of students having to borrow money is what could be the root cause of a growing tuition rate. 

Reminding high school graduates of other possible paths, such as trade school, could end the stigma that college is a means to an end, thus, fix rising tuition rates, as well as setting young students on a better path. 

“You take away the demand for people to go to college, the prices are going to fall,” Sarantis said.