From immigration to voting issues, the 14 students gathered Friday at the Asian Culture Center had a lot to say about a range of topics concerning the controversial 2016 election cycle as a part of a monthly discussion series titled “Who are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” hosted by the ACC.
Senior Abe Kim attended the discussion. Kim said he had limited interests in politics before this year’s election but decided to come to Friday’s event because of how different this election has been from those in the past.
“I just don’t like Trump,” Kim said. “In all honesty, I don’t like either side, but Hillary is probably the better of two evils.”
However, Trump versus Clinton was not the focus of the discussion.
The group started their discussion talking about the reasons millennials do not vote at the same rate as their parent’s generation. Some members suggested it was the laziness of the millennial generation, while others said voting was inconvenient and that there were too many legal barriers preventing young people from voting.
Next, the group started to discuss the importance of political experience in a president and whether or not Clinton faced extra scrutiny because she is a woman.
One member said people he has talked to are excited about the prospects of having the first woman president but fear that if Clinton does not succeed, she will make a bad name for future female presidents.
The group also tackled U.S. immigration policy and how the candidates are handling it. The students brought up everything from how to treat illegal immigrants to understanding what citizenship really meant and how to create a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
The final, most heated topic discussed was Clinton’s email scandal. One member said the email scandal was an inconsequential issue, while another student, a veteran, said Clinton should be jailed for the way she handled classified documents.
Dylan Smith was the debate moderator. He also said that people this election are faced with a special challenge as voters are “stuck between a rock and a hard place with Trump and Hillary.”
Smith said he thought the discussion went well and was glad people came to the event with an interest in discussing politics with people from across campus.
“With the election coming up, our goal is more civic engagement,” Smith said. “Our generation is the biggest in America.”
Sophomore Krishna Pathak also attended the discussion. Pathak has experience with politics because he went to the Democratic National Convention this past summer as a pledged Bernie Sanders delegate.
Reflecting on the discussion and the distinct point of views, he said he advocates for people to get out and vote and continue to stay involved with politics after the election.
But Pathak said it is most important to respect other people’s votes no matter who they are voting for.
“You have to learn about sides you don’t agree with,” Pathak said.