Lunar New Year Celebration Draws Over 200 People

This year’s Lunar New Year Celebration was held on Jan. 24 in Daugherty-Palmer Commons. The Lunar New Year Celebration is an event held in collaboration with the Asian Studies program, the Department of International Language and Cultures and the Asian Pacific American Club (APAC). The Lunar New Year was relatively early this year, so the event fell on the first Friday of classes.

The main event of the Celebration was a station for guests to make dumplings which were cooked in the back and then put out later to eat. The room was covered with red decorations, with red symbolizing good fortune and happiness. Snacks were provided for people to enjoy while waiting for the dumplings they made to cook. The Celebration also featured a calligraphy station, a chopstick competition and karaoke to finish off the night.

Professor of Chinese, Jingqi Fu started the Lunar New Year Celebration at SMCM a few years after she came to the college in 1995, saying “we never stopped, so every year we have this New Year Celebration with dumplings.” The event was well attended from the beginning but “not to the level it is now,” Professor Fu added.

It started as a smaller event on campus and has turned into the larger celebration it is today, but Professor Fu said dumplings have been a constant throughout the years. She added that she is “very happy to see people who are not necessarily involved in the Chinese or Asian studies program” attending. Professor Fu says they always try to open the event to more people, including community members living nearby who come help her with the cooking.

Professor of History, Charles Musgrove, teaches Chinese history at SMCM and currently serves as the faculty advisor for APAC. Professor Musgrove calls the event “one of the best traditions we have at this school.” Professor Musgrove stated the turnout this year was “great and every year we always manage to have enough dumplings for everyone who stays so for me that’s the sign of a successful event.”

Both Professor Fu and Professor Musgrove credit APAC for much of the organizing of the event in recent years, by running activities, announcements, entertainment as well as advertising for the event.

Senior Mariel Santos is the co-president of the APAC at SMCM, alongside Jay Guo. Santos joined APAC her sophomore year and immediately felt welcomed. As the big event for APAC each year, Santos says she “appreciates how many people come and it does show a good amount of diversity on our campus […] that’s why we look forward to it every year, it’s cool to see people who are interested in what we do.”

The Lunar New Year is the “most important holiday in much of East Asia,” Professor Musgrove said. Professor Fu described the Lunar New Year saying, “the whole country stops and nothing is going on except going home to family members and celebrating and eating,” and in times when food was scarce “you would keep the best food for these couple days.” 

Countries celebrate the Lunar New Year differently with different food and rituals and Professor Fu says that making dumplings is a huge tradition in northern China, describing it as “a must.” Professor Musgrove says the wrapping of dumplings during the Lunar New Year is a family affair and the dumplings “are supposed to bring good fortune for the year.” By making the dumplings at the event, Professor Musgrove says it “replicates that family tradition here on campus.”

Senior Nhu Chau described the Lunar New Year as “like Christmas and Thanksgiving in America, but special in its own way because it’s the time your family comes together and gathers.” Chau was born in Vietnam and said she missed seeing her family during the Lunar New Year, stating, “when I went to the event it brought back the memories and I remember now why people celebrate the Lunar New Year, it’s the gathering, the fun, the laughter and just enjoying food and hanging out with your friends.”

Coordinator of Diversity and Civic Engagement, Annesha Edwards-Carter, also attended the event and talked of the importance of diverse programs on campus. Edwards-Carter said people want to feel accepted at SMCM, making it “so important that the St. Mary’s Community makes this a place that is inclusive.” Edwards-Carter was also impressed that the event retained so many students, who were engaged with the activities provided, not just the free food.

With another successful Lunar New Year Celebration under her belt, Professor Fu added that they plan to “keep it going for many years to come.”

The First St. Mary’s Voices Reading of the Spring 2020 Semester

On Thursday, January 30th, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) community welcomed back SMCM  alumnus Joe Hall in an event held in Daugherty-Palmer Commons. Hall is a writer, researcher, and teacher who has published three collections of poetry, entitled “Someone’s Utopia,The Devotional Poems, and “Pigafetta Is My Wife.”  SMCM is most proud of his activism and generous teaching. Professor Karen Leona Anderson extended her gratitude towards Hall for coming back to SMCM and sharing his talent with students. “Someone’s Utopia,” Hall’s most recent book, published in 2018, focuses on labor and the eye-opening experience of being in the labor force. 

 Hall was a student of Professor Jeff Coleman, who introduced the talented SMCM alum with respect. Hall was a student at SMCM in the 2000s. His poems had a devotion, or theme, of beauty, damage and hope. Coleman explained that as a student, Hall’s poetry was filled with pain and damage. But in the end, this pain and damage were dealt with by overcoming these challenges. Coleman spoke of Hall’s dedication to his poetry and his education. In 2004, Hall graduated from St. Mary’s with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was the valedictorian for his graduating year. 

Hall mentioned he was very grateful to Coleman and grateful to come back to St. Mary’s. When he was a student at St. Mary’s, Coleman guided him in his poetry. He asked Coleman to review his poems every week. Hall shared that he had an opportunity to work with Lucille Clifton, one of the college’s most revered writers and professors. 

 In Hall’s reading, he spoke of the very real problems society holds and the emotions generated as a result. Hall’s poetry is filled with emotion. His use of sound through rhyme produced a sense of despair and frustration. In a series of poems entitled, “Fuge Zone,” Hall repeated the word “fireball” over and over again. With repetitive use of fireball, the strength in Hall’s voice channeled many emotions—anger, sadness, despair: it was all there. 

As Hall read more and more of these poems, it became apparent that his poetry spoke beyond the words on the paper and encapsulated the emotions of the students. As Hall finished reading each poem, the lingering silence showed how the power of Hall’s poetry and the images he created left listeners in deep thought. 

As a student asked the figurative meaning or metaphor of these “fireballs,” Hall explained that they were fireballs, just fireballs, but that they showed this sense of being stuck, and trying to make sense of everything. 

Another student asked, “What do you miss most about St. Mary’s?” Hall responded with gratitude that he was grateful for the sense of freedom and possibility that the campus gave to students. Bola Fadojutimi, commented, “Always great to see an alum, who has been in the same shoes as you are, and see them be so successful.” Another student, Lydia Haron, a junior, explained, “He’s very down to earth. I really appreciate how he combines his activism with his poetry.” 

The emotion and passion Hall shared with students was truly inspiring. Hall’s activism truly shares its depth with both its readers and listeners. Throughout the reading, Hall powerfully held the attention of every listener, making the passion in his voice further drive his activism. 

Title IX Community Meeting

During the Title IX Community meeting, Michael Dunn, Director of Title IX Compliance and Training/Title IX Coordinator, and Helen Ann Lawless, Title IX Investigator/Prevention Specialist, reviewed the data related to the Fall 2019 reports they received. They began by talking about reports they received in the fall and the breakdown of what the reports were. Out of the 64 reports filed, only 48 were Title IX specific reports. The other 14 reports were non-Title IX reports such as roommate disputes or bullying that do not fall under Title IX policy. 

Title IX is the law specific to discrimination based on sex, but when people come to their office they help pass them on to the proper channels. Dunn explained that their goal is “all about putting light on topics that are usually pretty taboo, that are stigmatized in our society. We want students on campus to know that they can come forward and report this information and they will be treated with dignity and sensitivity and respect and that we can help them get the resources and assistance that they need.” 

Title IX reports have generally decreased since previous years, but there is not enough information to make a notable statement as to what that means.  There was a clear trend of more recorded reports during the Fall semester than the Spring semester. When asked by another student as to why this would be, Lawless explained what is known as “The Red Zone,” which is the first six to eight weeks of the fall semester in which students are at the highest risk for sexual assault, especially First Years. When new students first come to college, they are usually starting from the ground and looking for social circles, and manipulative people look to exploit that. 

There is also an increase in social events and parties that bring big groups of people together. In fact, reports from HawktoberFest and Hallowgreens make up around 30% of all Fall Reports. Dunn spoke up, “The data is shocking. It’s a problem and a challenge for our entire campus. I don’t think anyone on campus would say the parties are worth it, that this is an acceptable price to pay.” He emphasizes that he wants to respect people’s privacy, but that students need to know that the reports from Halloweekends are not just low-level reports. Title IX is working on extra preventative measures and hopes to continue the conversation on how to address the problem and figure out how to have a positive healthy environment where students are able to interact with one another in a safe way. 

A new policy change means that Title IX will be able to hold people’s degrees until the investigation is finished. The student may still be able to walk at graduation, but the degree will be withheld in case action will need to be taken later in the year. In terms of prevention, Title IX will be continuing with its programs, A Call To Men, Active Bystander, and Costume Is Not Consent. They will continue to do interactive campaigns such as the healthy relationship chain that lined the staircase to the Great Room and interviewing students on how they feel about different topics within Title IX and placing their sound bites in posters around campus. They also emphasize how important it is for students to complete the Climate Survey. It’s the best way to get informative and useful data, and the response rate has decreased since last year.

The two most common Title IX issues fall under dating violence and sexual harassment. Fall 2019 is the first time where dating violence reports have overtaken those of sexual assault. Lawless theorizes that this could be due to a higher amount of information being shared, as well as awareness and prevention programs, which help people to identify the signs of domestic violence and acquaint them with resources to seek help. 

Out of the sexual harassment reports from Fall 2019, seven were nonconsensual contact, four were nonconsensual intercourse and six were sexual assault unknown. Sexual assault unknown is someone who comes forward and explains that something happened to them that they don’t want to talk about, but they still want access to resources. Some other categories the reports fell into were retaliation, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Anyone who comes into the office is informed that retaliation is prohibited. They should not receive any negative repercussions for filing a report. No one should change their grades, impact their social sphere, create rumors, threats or intimidations. All of these are taken very seriously because everyone should feel completely safe in coming forward with a report. When asked about policy language and whether or not these were blanket categories, Dunn explained, “All of these things are defined in the policy,” each category has a definition and examples of what is included within it. 

The most common cases fall under the category “as far as they can go.” It is essentially when a report has been filed and the student decides not to follow up with the office. The office respects that the student is making a choice for themselves, and will leave it alone after reaching out without a response. It also includes anyone that they do not have authority over, including people who are not students or staff. 

Other cases fall under the category of informal resolutions, which is when students do not want a formal investigation and just want the behavior to stop. In these situations, Title IX will bring in the accused and tell them to stop, remind them of the policies, put in place a no-contact order, and let them go. 

Another category is an honor request for confidentiality, which is when someone comes forward to share what is happening, but asks that the college not take action. The only time when a request for confidentiality or an informal resolution doesn’t end after the initial report is when the accused has had reports filed against them. Of course, this does not mean that the student will be forced to take part in the investigation. Instead they will be informed and, while most choose to come forward, there are some who choose to not go further. Dunn affirmed, “What I try to really live by is no surprises. I want people to know what they can expect, what’s happening when, trying to keep people informed and that the process is as sensitive as it is and as transparent as it can be.” They urge students to reach out with any questions or ideas on how to make the campus a healthier community. More information on Title IX events, contact information, and policies is available on their website and on Inside SMCM. 

One Love

 Love sometimes brings everyone closer, but unhealthy love can cause destruction in relationships as well.  Just last Sunday, all St. Mary’s athletic teams were required to attend a meeting about abusive relationships . At the event  the students were taught about the signs of an abusive relationship and what we could do to stop these unhealthy relationships. 

There have been  many athletes who have died from abusive relationships surprisingly. It is a very serious matter, which was communicated with students through a series of interactive activities. First, the athletes were given a worksheet about how they felt on abusive love. The worksheet asked questions such as whether or not the student had an adult that they could share what’s going on in their relationships. There are so many student athletes who are getting abusive love from their boyfriends/girlfriends and sometimes even friends; that is why it was only directed toward athletes. 

After the worksheet, students were shown a video on abusive relationships. In the video there was a guy who loved a girl but just wouldn’t leave her alone and he would act rudely to her in response. Her friends noticed this behavior but did not report it and,eventually, the girl was killed by her boyfriend. 

Every year at the event the host plays this video and talks to the athletes about how to recognize abusive relationships. This year, the lacrosse coach was in charge of everything  and arranged for her team and almost all the teams on campus to be there. It was a mandatory event for all sports, though the information provided was relevant for individuals who are not in sports as well. Peers and adults can play a huge role in helping someone who is in an unhealthy relationship if it looks like a friend or student is in an unhealthy relationship. One Love was there to help all athletes and warn them about abusive relationships; it was a very helpful program.

Spring Involvement Fair Aims to Get Students Engaged

The spring Involvement Fair took place on Jan. 24 in the Rec Courts at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Involvement fair is a chance for clubs on campus to showcase themselves to students to gain potential members. 

Junior Janine Benner is the current Club Coordinator at SMCM and serves as the liaison between student clubs and OSA (Office of Student Activities). Benner spoke of the purpose of the Involvement Fair, saying it is a chance to “get the people who aren’t really active on campus a chance to see what is out there.”

Sophomore Gina Fioravante is the vice president of the Sustainability Club and co-president of the Philosophy Club and attended the Involvement Fair to bring attention to both of these clubs. Fioravante joined the Sustainability Club last year because as an Environmental Studies major she cares “a lot about the environment and wanted to promote sustainability on campus,” and became vice president this year after a mostly senior exec board graduated. Fioravante sees the Sustainability Club as a way “to become more sustainable [herself] and hopefully learn from others in the club as well.”

Although Fioravante is a Biology and Environmental Studies double major, she got involved with the Philosophy Club after taking an introductory course last year and joined because she thought it “would be fun to discuss things that weren’t so textbook.” The Philosophy Club holds meetings that discuss various topics, such as the philosophy of the TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the philosophy of art and the philosophy of virtual love.

Fioravante said the spring Involvement Fair is a good place for people who didn’t sign up for a club in the first semester to sign up for the second semester and hopefully get those students involved for the rest of the year.

There are over 80 student clubs on campus and 45 of them registered to attend the Involvement Fair. Benner said clubs on campus are a “chance for people who have the same interests to feel they are accepted” and “for people who aren’t so included for to get a chance to be included” in our campus community.

St. Mary’s Students Participate in Senegal Study Tour over Winter Break

Over winter break, eight St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) students visited Senegal, West Africa to experience Senegalese culture and become familiar with the history of the nation. The trip lasted from Jan. 3 through Jan. 17, and included sites of historical, cultural and environmental significance. The study tour was led by Maribeth Ganzell, the club coordinator at SMCM, and Professor Bill Roberts of the SMCM Anthropology Department. 

Lily Pohlenz (‘21) stated that she was most looking forward to “Meeting new people and experiencing life in a third world country.” The experience of the study tour gave SMCM students a glimpse at another part of the world and showed them the importance of awareness of cultures different from our own. 

The local language of Senegal is Wolof, and SMCM students were able to experience the basics of this language through lessons and interactions with local Senegalese students. In a collaboration with a local high school, SMCM students met and interacted with members of the school’s English club as well as students at five different Senegalese universities. Ganzell remarked that one of her favorite moments from the trip is when “a SMCM student and Senegalese student found common ground through a conversation or shared joke.” Along with Wolof, French—the official language of Senegal—was frequently heard as well, which provided SMCM students with a background in French to practice their language-speaking skills outside of the classroom. 

Aside from making Senegalese friends, the study tour took students on a tour of the holy city of Touba Mbacké, which is home to the largest mosque in West Africa. It is Senegalese custom for both Christian and Muslim religions to coexist peacefully, celebrating holidays together and appreciating the beliefs of their different faiths. 

Senegal provides countless beautiful scenes, such as the towns, universities and the Saloum River Delta. Ganzell noted that one of her favorite parts of the trip was when “the water spray hit [her] face while zooming through the Delta du Saloum river on a brightly painted pirogue.” A pirogue, to which Ganzell refers, is a long, narrow canoe usually made from a single tree bark. Another exciting site from the trip included those experienced on a safari through the Bandia Wildlife Reserve. Some of the animals spotted were monkeys, rhinoceri, antelopes, giraffes, ostriches and zebras.  

Ganzell has helped to organize this study tour on three separate occasions, including the first Sights and Sounds of Senegal tour in 2017 for a group of first-year Global Scholars. She explained that she hopes that this tour can become an annual trip offered to SMCM students, since it provides excellent opportunities to experience the world outside of Southern Maryland. 

In order to organize such a phenomenal experience, Ganzell begins her planning process far in advance of the trip. “Planning for the trip usually starts almost a year in advance,” she noted. Ganzell explained that the application for the trip is typically due about nine months prior to the study tour, and information is made available to students usually around late spring. Preparation for the students included background information sessions in order to familiarize them with the Senegalese culture. Students were given a set of readings along with written and oral material in order to better understand Senegalese history, society, and geography. 

While the trip did not count for any specific course credit, it did allow students to fulfill the ELAW requirement while experiencing society in a different part of the world. Ganzell believes the experiences obtained on this trip will stick with SMCM students forever, as they were able to make new friends and see a different yet beautiful culture. She mentioned that “When your trip is over, you are headed back to the comforts of home, but realize this experience will stick with you for a long time, changing the way you look at your world.” 

Studying abroad serves as an opportunity to better understand the world outside of our own campus. The Senegal study tour and many other opportunities to experience education abroad are available through the Office of International Study located in Glendening Annex. 

CSD Hosts Watergate Screening and Panel Discussion

On Nov. 19, the St. Mary’s Center for the Study of Democracy and the Patuxent Partnership held a screening of the documentary “Watergate: Shadow of History,” in Cole Cinema, with a post-screening discussion led by producer Sherry Jones and William Galston, who is an Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s governance studies program. The film was released on the 30th anniversary of the Watergate scandal and is constructed around interviews with key figures including Howard Baker, ranking minority member of the Senate Watergate Committee, Carl Bernstein, a journalist who worked on the initial reporting on the scandal at The Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Post at the time, Alexander Butterfield, deputy assistant to Nixon, and John Dean, White House Counsel from 1970 to 1973. 

The film covered the details of the scandal chronologically from the break-ins at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, to The Washington Post’s uncovering of the link between the burglars and the White House, and through the ensuing Senate investigation and impeachment proceedings which led the House to a successful impeachment vote for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of congress which ultimately led to Nixon’s 1974 resignation. “Watergate: Shadow of History” also emphasized the public dissent for the Vietnam War and the White House at the time, foregrounding the role of protest in garnering attention to abuses of power in the executive office. 

Galston initiated the post-screening discussion by posing rhetorical questions on the increasing frequency and partisanship of impeachment proceedings from the 1974 proceedings to the impeachment proceedings currently in the House of Representatives, asking, “For the first 184 years of the republic, we had exactly one impeachment episode. In the past 46 years, we’ve had 3; we are now in the middle of the third. What does that mean?” 

With regard to the increasing partisanship of impeachment votes, Galston cited that during Watergate, “40% of Republicans ended up supporting at least one article of impeachment against the President of their own party,” in contrast to the impeachment proceedings in 1999 in which the impeachment vote was split entirely along party lines. With regard to the current impeachment process, Glaston speculated, “Now here we are today, and my question is, which of these episodes will 2019 and 2020 be more like: the bipartisanship in which 1974 culminated, or the complete breakdown of bipartisan cooperation that was evident in 1998 and 1999?”

The ensuing discussion indicated that Galston’s prediction lies in the camp of the latter: in response to an audience question about why Republicans don’t break ranks in the impeachment process, he noted, “Polarization along the lines of party identification is nearly total in today’s politics” due to less ideological overlap between the parties and the dissipation of the ties that came from many members’ military service in World War II.

As impeachment proceedings head to the House of Representatives and then to a majority Republican Senate, the question of the extent to which partisanship will play a role in the impeachment vote is a central component of whether the process will proceed. But, Galston emphasized, the resolution to the allegations of the proceedings may lie entirely in the outcome of the 2020 election: if the current President is unseated, “it will be the American people who will have to do it.”

Calling All Gamers: Video Game Club Spotlight

Video games have been part of our entertainment culture since the 1980s. Ask any child or teenager if they play video games, they will most likely answer yes. Of course with the overwhelming workload and stress of school life, video games are the go-to method of entertainment for college students. That is why St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has a Video Game Club. Every Saturday night from 6:00-8:00 p.m., students gather in the computer lab and hook up their Nintendo switches, Game Cubes or any other console and sometimes even board games and mobile games they have and spend two hours playing games and hanging out.

Isabelle Harsch, the club’s current President, joined when she was a freshman “to try and meet people and I knew I loved video games and I wanted to meet people who had similar interests as me.” Video Game Club is very driven by people looking to make friends with those who share their interests and those ideals are still at the center of the club today. Unlike most clubs that have regular performances, sales, or competitions, Video Game Club’s main goal is to just hang out and chill and play fun games. There’s also no agenda. If someone wants to play a certain game, they are welcome to bring it in for everyone to try out. It is also an environment that is open to new people, both to the club and to video games in general. 

Freshman Katrina Walcutt, who joined earlier in the year, had this to say about the club: “Everyone’s really open and inviting and in a lot of competitive games, which is what the club mainly plays, there’s a lot of ribbing and teasing but it never feels negative. It’s just really calm and relaxed even with the high energy games that we play.” 

The main choice for what to play in the club is “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” released by Nintendo, mostly because it allows multiple people to play at a time and allows the players to simply just wail on each other without having to worry about a main objective. Even though the club is currently very lax about the activities, the executive board has some plans for the club. According to Briana Jahromi, the Vice President of the Club “We’ve been planning on having a Smash tournament and we all think that would be a really cool idea.” Video Game Club is also beginning to expand its reach of games. Recently, people have been bringing in board games and card games, such as “Betrayal at the House on the Hill” and “Funemployed.” Of course, everyone involved agrees that the best part about Video Game Club is that anyone of any skill level can join. You don’t need to be a “pro” gamer, you can be someone who plays every day, a really casual gamer, or someone who just enjoys watching people play. As long as you have an interest in video games, you are more than welcome to come and hang out.

New Club at St. Mary’s on Public Health

A new club at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) known as the St. Mary’s  Public Health club, was officially approved on Nov. 19 at the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. The purpose of this club is to engage students in the field of public health and introduce them to the importance of public health careers in the future.

Public Health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. While a doctor treats people who are sick, public health officers and directors try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. They also promote and encourage healthy behaviors.

The St. Mary’s Public Health club will feature weekly meetings to discuss current public health outbreaks, illnesses, and news worldwide. The club aims to discuss proactive solutions for global threats and aims to promote the wellbeing of students in the St. Mary’s community. For example, students may get together to discuss the impact of their drinking water on campus, the temperature of their buildings or the food they are eating at the Great Room. 

Public Health is something that impacts people’s lives often without them noticing. The club believes that it is important to introduce students to the idea of being cognizant of the many decisions that go into ensuring the safety and good health of the public. The club serves as an informative tool to educate students about proper health safety and also as a platform for students to speak about issues and concerns they have about the campus. The club also aims to hold a relationship with the local health department so that it can go to events to become educated and potentially get students involved with internships with the St. Mary’s County Health Department.

Outside of SMCM , the club will attend Public Health talks, events, and discussions in and around Maryland to understand how government bureaucracies work throughout the federal, state, and local operations. 

There will be meetings at least twice a month at a given date, time and place. The schedule of the meetings should be made to match the convenience of the members, with a minimum of two meetings a month.
For more information on the club, contact Nick Williams at, Robbie Hamilton, or Emily Murphy at

Foreign Policy Debate: What is the Middle East Solution?

On Dec. 4 in Cole Cinema, the College Democrats and the John Quincy Adam Society debated over foreign policy, specifically the U.S. involvement in the Middle East.The debate started with an introduction from a former diplomat of the U.S. State Department where he summarized the history and current foreign affairs of the U.S.

The John Quincy Adam Society argued that military involvement is necessary for the promotion of peace and protecting the Middle Eastern. They reasoned using an ethical standpoint, stating that it is the United States’ “civic and moral duties” to get involved as “the public good is no longer confined to our nation, to our state, but to all nations, to all states.” Military intervention is necessary, especially since the U.S. is such a powerful state and therefore has the ability to influence change in the developing countries.

The College Democrats claimed that foreign interference is no longer about security and peace. They said that, because of U.S. involvement, “the Iraq War upended the Middle East, empowered Iran, and fueled the new generation of Jihad’s terrorists.” Using such force has only led to more harm than good and the US should  instead use more diplomatic strategies through international organizations.

Another argument College Democrats made was that the current U.S. strategy does not work and has “nothing to show for itself,” other than a death toll. They claimed that the U.S is highly uncooperative when it comes to negotiating, saying “it’s our way or the highway”. According to the College Democrats, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars fighting wars in the Middle East and  recent years have seen an increase in airstrikes and use of U.S. forces. They closed with, “hundreds of people are still dying there so I ask why do we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done. If we keep doing the same thing we‘ll always get the same results. Why have we not not tried something new?”

The John Quincy Adam Society rebutted by stating that U.S military intervention ensures that Middle Eastern countries remain stable. When the U.S. pulled troops from Iraq, it “gave way to the rise of the Islamic State,” thus the U.S. cannot just withdraw when the problems we made are still there and, in fact, leaving will just exacerbate the issues. Military presence helps keeps these nations in check.

In the final statements, the John Quincy Adam Society affirmed that military involvement is imperative, as it brings Middle Eastern nations towards equality. As a country that has strong beliefs in democracy, the U.S. needs to be involved in order to develop and protect change and unity. 

The College Democrats closed their argument by contending that the U.S. needs to admit their failures and need to go forward with a more soft power route. Innocent civilians and soldiers will keep dying if the U.S. gets more involved.

The John Quincy Adam Society stated that their stance with military involvement does not reflect the club’s views and they were merely playing devil’s advocate for the sake of the debate.