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Penn Political Union Debates

THE PENN POLITICAL UNION (PPU) is an undergraduate organization formed in 2014 that features parliamentary-style deliberation on urgent contemporary issues.  To represent a wide spectrum of political opinion, students are members of five different political parties: libertarian, conservative, independent, liberal, and progressive.

The Andrea Mitchell Center is proud to sponsor the PPU debates, now expanded to include events featuring prominent public figures from journalism, politics, public policy, and academia. As with all Mitchell Center events, the PPU debates are open to the public and there will usually be opportunity for active participation in the discussion by members of the audience not affiliated with one of the five parties. 

The Mitchell Center/PPU debates are co-sponsored by the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor SocietyThe Jack Miller Center, and the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative.

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Should We Abolish the Electoral College?

Thu. February 27, 7:00pm to 8:30pm
College Hall, Room 200
Free and open to the public / Food provided
Co-sponsored by the  Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative.

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as its five political parties debate the resolution, “The United States Should Abolish the Electoral College.”

2019-20 Events Archive

Are Trump's Immigration Policies Racist? (Guest: Jamelle Bouie)

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as its five political parties and guest Jamelle Bouie debate the resolution, “The Trump Administration's immigration policies are rooted in racist ideology.”

JAMELLE BOUIE, based in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington D.C., is a columnist for the New York Times and political analyst for CBS News. He covers campaigns, elections, national affairs, and culture. Prior to the Times, he was chief political correspondent for Slate magazine. And before that, he was a staff writer at The Daily Beast and held fellowships at The American Prospect and The Nation magazine.

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as its five political parties and guest Jeb Bush debate the resolution, “The United States should adopt a merit-based immigration system.”

JEB BUSH served as the 43rd Governor of Florida and ran as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016. He is a University of Pennsylvania Presidential Professor of Practice.

Should the US Government Provide Full Employment? (Guest: Dustin Guastella)

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union and guest debater Dustin Guastella (Philadelphia DSA) for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution: "The government should provide a job to all citizens who seek employment."

Should the US Support the Hong Kong Protesters?

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:
"The US should lend political and economic support to the Hong Kong protesters." Welcome to the start of a new semester and a great year for the Union filled with fiery debate, interesting speakers, and new perspectives.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A POLITICIAN? How do you induce effective political change? Learn the tips, tools, and tricks-of-the-trade at this master class; a must-go for any Penn student interested in someday running for office. The Penn Political Union and the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy would like to welcome Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA 6th District) as she teaches a master class on politics at the University of Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan is the representative for Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district, located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. A politician, engineer, businesswoman, teacher, and former United States Air Force officer, she has dedicated her life to serving the United States of America. She currently serves on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Small Businesses.

2018-19 Events Archive

Should We Continue to Use Race-Based Affirmative Action in College Admissions?

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:
"Race-based affirmative action should be continued in the college admissions process."

 

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:
“The US Federal Government should implement a 70% top marginal tax rate."

Federal Funding of Abortion Providers

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:

"The federal government should cease all funding to healthcare clinics that provide abortions." 

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:

"The federal government should abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)." 

 

Has America Been a Net Harm to the World?

Join the five parties of the Penn Political Union and guest speaker George Ciccariello-Maher (author of We Created ChavezBuilding the Commune, and Decolonizing Dialectics) for an impassioned debate as they consider the following resolution:

"The United States has had an overall negative impact on the world."

TALK - America and Its Role in the World (Tom Ridge, Wesley Clark)

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF THE EVENT HERE

PLEASE JOIN THE FIVE POLITICAL PARTIES of The Penn Political Union to welcome former supreme allied commander of NATO, General WESLEY CLARK, and former Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania TOM RIDGE in a conversation moderated by esteemed journalist JESSICA YELLIN. Drawing on decades of valuable political and national security experience, General Clark and Secretary Ridge will discuss and debate the current trajectory of the United States’ role in the world, followed by questions from the audience.

TALK - The Health of American Democracy Today (Jeb Bush)

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF THE EVENT HERE
A REPORT ON THE EVENT IS AVAILABLE HERE

PLEASE JOIN THE FIVE POLITICAL PARTIES of The Penn Political Union to welcome former Florida Governor and presidential candidate JEB BUSH in a wide-ranging discussion about American democracy in the current era.

2017-2018 Events Archive

North Korea and the Bomb - A PENN POLITICAL UNION DEBATE

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as we debate the following resolution:  "The United States of America cannot allow North Korea to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), even if that means taking military action.”

MITCHELL CENTER/PPU DEBATE - Is the Media to Blame for the Climate of Polarization?

With featured guest Michael Smerconish
Watch coverage of the event on Smerconish's CNN show here.

IN THE FIRST OF AN ONGOING SERIES, the Mitchell Center and the Penn Political Union present journalist Michael Smerconish to get a debate started over the role of the media in the political polarization of the America.

Would Increased Regulation of Firearms Prevent Mass Shootings?

With featured guest John Lott

Join the Penn Political Union and guest JOHN LOTT (The Crime Prevention Research Center) as they debate the resolution, “In order to prevent mass public shootings, the United States should more heavily regulate firearm ownership.”

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as its five political parties debate the resolution, “The political atmosphere at Penn and other similar institutions is hostile to the free exchange of ideas.”

PPU Debate - Whistleblowers and State Secrets

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION as we debate the following resolution:  "The benefits of leaking classified information to the media outweigh the costs."

 

MITCHELL CENTER / PPU DEBATE - Is School Choice the Best Path for Education Reform?

With featured guest David Boaz

JOIN THE PENN POLITICAL UNION and guest debater DAVID BOAZ (Cato Institute) as its five political parties debate the resolution, U.S. states should enact education reform centered around school choice.”