PBA Receives Grant to Foster Dialogue on Candidate Debates

Palm Beach Atlantic University students will come together to watch the upcoming presidential and vice-presidential debates followed by a discussion of what they’ve seen and heard as part of the 2012 Florida Campus Compact Campus Democracy Project.

The University received a $1,000 mini-grant from Florida Campus Compact to host three civic dialogues on campus on Oct. 3, Oct. 11 and Oct. 16. Faculty members of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication and Media will moderate the discussions.


The dialogues will offer a safe environment in which students of different political backgrounds can express their points of view, organizers said.

“We hope to provide students with an opportunity to see the debates with their friends and then interact with other students,” said Professor of History and Political Science Dr. Jack Calhoun.

Through a $30,000 grant from the national Campus Compact organization, Florida Campus Compact was able to award mini-grants to each of its member schools that applied, said Michael Norris, Florida Campus Compact’s senior program coordinator.

“The discussions will give students the opportunity to do something that is issue-based rather than candidate-based, and to see how the issues relate to them and their generation and the future of the democratic process,” Norris said.

In addition to hosting the activities, organizers at PBA plan to create a video from the dialogues and also conduct a 30-minute focus group discussion to examine the issues after each televised debate.

The faculty members who will moderate the discussions are Dr. Tom St. Antoine, professor of communication and director of the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program; Dr. Roger Chapman, associate professor of history; and Dr. Craig Hanson, associate professor of philosophy.

Florida Campus Compact’s 2012 Campus Democracy Project does not endorse any candidate or political party. This non-partisan initiative seeks to promote civil and issue based dialog, increase civic participation at Florida’s institutions of higher education and inspire leadership and civic responsibility for conscientious citizenship in a participatory democracy.