By Sophie Czerniecki
It was Thursday night following midterm elections when a group of students gathered in a room on the third floor of the Pryzbyla Center to talk about today’s political climate and voice their concerns and opinions on different issues. It was the first club meeting of a new group on campus called “Independent CUA.”
Independent CUA is a political organization with no party affiliation founded by freshmen international economics and finance major Will McGowan and politics major Owen Downing. The club is based on political discussion with the goals of bringing people of all political orientations together to eliminate the polarization of today’s political climate.
“Over the summer the political situation was intensified obviously, and I felt a lot of polarity between Democrats and Republicans, the two-party system,” said McGowan. “People basically shouting at each other, screaming really not listening without realizing that the number one goal is working together.”
The idea for Independent CUA came from McGowan’s high school history teacher, who would choose a different topic each week to teach students how it related to history and current events. The class would then discuss and share their differing views on the chosen topic. McGowan said that this activity showed how discussion can influence compromise and the importance for young leaders to sit down and listen to one another.
With today’s political polarization, both McGowan and Downing saw a need for a club that cultivates this type of environment.
“Watching the political behavior of the past few years has made me see politics in a different light and see the people involved in a different light,” said Downing. “It seems like it has taken more of an attack [on] people of any other views sort of role instead of actually doing what it is supposed to do public policy wise.”
While there were only five students in attendance at the first meeting this is only the start for Independent CUA. Downing and McGowan plan to have club meetings two to three times a month. Each month they will pick a topic such as gun control, trade deals, health care, or immigration and they will then spend the first meeting discussing and have lively debate on the topic. There will be a student moderator and rules set in place to maintain a respectful and professional environment. The second meeting will then be spent discussing the topic further after students have had time to research. Other possible discussions include having students argue against their own viewpoint in effort to see both sides.
“I really like the concept of having political discussions based off civility and knowledge and being able to share every side of an argument. I don’t think there is another club on this campus that has regular discussions that promotes this bipartisan discussion. I think it is a great idea to hear both sides in political discussions,” said Michael McCabe, a freshman that attended the first meeting.
Independent CUA will host its next meeting on Thursday, November 29th in Pryz 323 at 7 p.m. to discuss if the United States Executive Branch has too much power, and the pros and cons of big and small governments.