Ford Institue Presents Student Debates

The Ford Institute provided their second “Get your Soapbox on” debate on Oct. 25 asking, “Should guns be allowed on campus?”

The Soapbox series is a new event that is put on by the Ford Institute as a way for students to voice opinions on issues that are relevant to the current day culture. These debates are open to both Ford students and the rest of the student body.

“The Ford Soapbox Series stems from an article that all PBSV (Public Service) 101 students read called ‘How Campuses Can Create Engaged Citizens: The Student View’ by Stephanie Raill and Elizabeth Hollander,” said Edward Visco, Associate Director of Ford Institute. “This talks about how students can become the engaged citizen: one that is involved in service and political activity for the betterment of their community. “

The goal of the series allows students to mature their public voice on issues that relate directly to them.  Students are encouraged to openly discuss this in a group setting.

The second series debate was questioning guns on Albion’s campus.  Currently 26 states prohibit the use of guns in schools, campuses, day cares, churches and more.  However, many are considering a change or have already changed this policy, including Michigan.  This would mean that if a student passes a Concealed Carry Weapon test (CCW) they would be allowed to carry the weapon on them at all times including during class, at a party, or any leisure time.

The debaters believed that students would not only have to pass the CCW but also psychiatric tests in order to prove that they are mentally stable enough to carry a weapon.

“Weapons are not allowed on campus for many reasons,” Fred Williamson, Campus Safety officer said.  “Most of the Campus Safety officers are retired policemen, have had experience with weapons, and would like to carry a weapon of their own. However, we are on 24 hour communication with the Albion Public Safety and are always contacted when a situation on campus arises.”

It was a general consensus of the debate that if guns were ever allowed on a campus, more qualifications and tests would have to be established.

“It only takes a second for a student to flip a switch and become angry” Williamson said.  “Would you want your friend to be killed because someone else passed a CCW? That is why guns are not allowed on campus.”

The majority of students felt the Soapbox Series was a great way for them to become more involved with issues.

“I attend this series for the several reasons,” Phil Brimer, Troy sophomore said.  “It is important to know issues that impact our lives directly and have an opinion and then voice those opinions. Secondly, when you attend this series you are able to learn more about the subject before you arrived.”

The Soapbox series will continue every week in the Quad for student’s voices to be heard on current events.

Photo courtesy of Albion College Facebook

About Jillian Putnam 34 Articles
Jillian is senior graduating in 2014 with a double major in English and Anthropology and a member of Alpha Chi Omega. She has a passion for travel and culture, hoping to pursue a career with National Geographic one day. Until then, she enjoys writing, cooking, and playing with her hedgehog. Contact her at, @JillianPutnam .

1 Comment

  1. The article states

    “Currently 26 states prohibit the use of guns in schools, campuses, day cares, churches and more.”

    Does the author mean the “use” of guns or the “carrying/presence” of guns on campus?

    D. Mason

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