Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

In 1992, West Chester University’s Dr. Kevin Dean, professor and co-ordintor for the honors college, and Dr. David Levasseur, Communication Studies professor, decided to host a debate viewing party. As political communication junkies, they saw this event as a stellar opportunity to analyze political messages without the inundation of media bias.

Thus, the Debate Watch was born. The professors put together the event and reached out to students to attend the showdown between Bill Clinton and incumbent George H.W. Bush.

The event proved to be such a success that they brought it back every election year, including this year.

“The goal of the Debate Watch is to create a completely objective environment for students.”

The 2016 Debate Watch, hosted by the Honors Student Association, will be held in the Sykes Theater on Monday, Sept. 26 at 8:30 p.m.

The event will be completely nonpartisan; while people of all beliefs and ideologies are welcome, there will be no campaigning allowed. This includes cheering and booing.

After viewing the debate, the program will be shut off to block out any media analysis of the event, and the discussion will begin.

Co-moderated by Drs. Dean and Levasseur, the discussions will focus on observations and attitude changes due to the performances of the candidates.

Working under the auspices of the Presidential Debate Commission, the goal of the Debate Watch is to create a completely objective environment for students to absorb campaign messages. The event has already received widespread support, boasting sponsorships from a variety of campus organizations.

The event will also feature a voting registration table for those who have not yet been able to sign up to vote. Refreshments will be provided at the event, and all attendees will receive a special button to commemorate the historical night.

The event is open to all students and faculty, free of charge. Students with any questions should reach out to Dan DeBrakeleer at

Dan DeBrakeleer is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in political science, Spanish, and theatre arts. He can be reached at 

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