Penn State Student Black Caucus' Ashe Week brought together members of eight multicultural student organizations Thursday night as they debated various topics in Osmond Lab.
Organizations involved in The Org Debates included African Student Association, the Latino Caucus, the National Medical Student Association and the National Society of Black Engineers. Also included in the discussion were members of the Caribbean Student Association, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Related Sciences and the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team.
The organizations debated in pairs with teams of two or three members. Each were given 5 minutes for preliminary arguments and then two and a half minutes for each of their two rebuttals.
The night was moderated by Ryan Brown, Penn State Student Black Caucus president, and Genevieve Logerie (senior-neropsychology). The debates were judged by Donna King, lecturer in African-American studies Takkeem Morgan, assistant director of development for world conversation, and Kristen Wong, assistant director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.
The night began slightly behind schedule with a first debate between the Latino Caucus and NSBE about whether employees should be allowed to express their cultural identity in the workplace.
Latino Caucus President Ariel Coronel (senior-energy business finance) and Andrea Hernandez (senior-women's studies) said that taking away a person's ability to express themselves culturally takes away a part of their identity.
The next debate featured MANRRS and SNMA members who discussed whether or not employers should be alloyed to deny coverage of birth control.
SMART and Black Caucus took their positions at the front of the room and argues whether student unions are needed in predominantly white institutions.
During this part of round one, Alaina Alexander (senior-hotel, restaurant and institutional management) of SMART said, "So for all the injustice we have overcome, how can we be so hypocritical?"
She went on to explain that despite race or color, people inherently want to be around others like them, not just join into another organization. SMART was later announced the winner of this debate.
The final debate of this round involved members of ASA and CSA about the accuracy of labeling Penn State as an academic and retention gap closer for minority students.
A brief intermission took place before it was announce that MANRRS, SMART, NSBE, and CSA would move forward.
MANRRS and SMART came up first to debate the need for an Electoral College. This was then followed CSA and NSBE's discussion of whether or not the United States exploits developing nations.
The final round between NSBE and SMART was about racial profiling.
While the issues of racial profiling as prevention to 9-11 was brought up by SMART, NSBE ultimately won the round as they described racial profiling as a way of protection for oneself and their loved ones while also proposing the point that it can be used unjustly.
Jaylin Freeman-Broadous (sophomore-industrial engineering), a member of the winning team, said, "I thought [the event] was cool. It allowed us to look at different perspectives."
Before announcing this team as the winner, Brown (senior-integrative arts) joked as he said Black Caucus, a team that did not make it to the second round, had won the debates. This was met with laughter from the crowd as the team jumped up.