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Why were third-party groups excluded from campus political debate?

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The Ohio U College Democrats debate the College Republicans on March 22 in a debate moderated by The New Political. No third-party candidates were invited to participate.

“I think both of those organizations, and especially the Democrats, work very hard to exclude political organizations that are not one of the two main parties,” ISO President Tyler Barton said.

The Ohio University College Democrats and College Republicans declined to invite any third-party organizations to participate in a debate with them on March 22 in Walter Hall, each citing different reasons as to why.

Ohio U College Democrats President Ashley Fishwick and College Republicans President Ryan Evans worked in conjunction to coordinate the debate. The College Democrats have clashed with the International Socialist Organization, dating back to a forum in October 2017 regarding the Ohio U administration’s controversial Freedom of Expression policy.

The organizations claimed that the ISO was not willing to work with them unless they conformed to the ISO’s perspective on the issue. This disagreement led to the ISO being excluded from the March 22 debate. On March 23, The Post reported that both the College Democrats and College Republicans agreed the debate was productive.

Because the ISO was not going to be invited to the debate, Fishwick and Evans also said that they couldn’t invite other third-party organizations like the libertarian groups Young Americans for Liberty and Students for Liberty.

WATCH: Ohio U College Democrats debate College Republicans LIVE STREAM 

2018 Spring Debate

LIVE: The OU College Republicans debate the OU College Democrats

Posted by The New Political on Thursday, March 22, 2018

“With regards to our history, we didn’t feel like it was smart to add ISO into the mix,” Fishwick said.

Contrary to what Fishwick said, the College Republicans wanted to keep the event cordial by only having two groups present. If more than two organizations participated in the debate, the conversation would have become disjointed and would not have allowed for the participants to properly delve into a topic, Evans said.

“It wasn’t like we don’t want ISO to come … we would gladly have events with ISO, FSO and Students for Liberty if they wanted to—nothing against those groups at all,” Evans said.

The New Political reported on October 13 that Evans expressed interest in continuing to work with the other political organizations on repealing the Freedom of Expression policy.

The ISO was unaware that the College Democrats and College Republicans were hosting a debate, ISO President Tyler Barton said. The ISO have maintained a good relationship with both organizations in the past, Barton said, but they would only interact with each other if the ISO reached out and directly invited them.

“I think both of those organizations, and especially the Democrats, work very hard to exclude political organizations that are not one of the two main parties,” Barton said.

The Students for Liberty have worked with both major parties in the past, but only when the ISO hosted the events. Some of their members used to attend College Republican meetings, Students for Liberty President Gabrielle Maylock said.

“I do think there is some truth to it,” said Maylock regarding Barton’s statement.

Editor’s Note: The New Political moderated the debate on March 22, however it did not have any role in planning the debate. 

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