By Jessica Strickler, Staff Writer
In this election year, various organizations inside HPU have hosted the viewing parties in the Point for the presidential election debates, as well as the election night coverage. Classes were in session for all but the second presidential debate, which took place over fall break. Several news crews have attended the viewing parties to interview students about their political stance, placing particular emphasis on how the debates have solidified or altered the opinions of students, as well as how they expect for the election to turn out.
On Nov. 6, election night, students again came out in masse to watch the results come in. Approximately 100 students turned out to watch the election coverage and listen to the professor panel and many stuck around afterwards in anticipation of Romney or Obama reaching 270 electoral votes.
“I thought the discussion would be interesting and it is nice to get different perspectives, especially as things are coming down to the wire,” said freshman Emma Riley.
For the coverage broadcast at the Point, FOX news was featured on the big screen and front half of the area, while the televisions surrounding the bar and dining area cast MSNBC.
“There are polls closing every hour, which means that there are 59 minutes of air time to fill between updates of poll numbers. So reporters and pundits fill the air with anything they can find,” said Dr. Jim Trammell, assistant professor of video production.
One of the highlights of the night came in the down time between poll closings. Newly elected North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s acceptance speech, in which he mentioned High Point University as being one of the places his mother had influence as a professor.
Also featured as part of election night at 9 p.m., professors Trammell, Dr. Mark Setzler, chair of the political science department, Dr. Larry Simpson, professor of history, and Dr. Peter Summers, assistant professor of economics, held a panel discussion breaking down the poll numbers and media coverage, as well as key issues surrounding the election such as the economy.
“It seems to me that social scientists have done a good job of predicting who would win [various seats] in the US, which for me, as a political scientist, is a very promising thing,” said Setzler.
Several of the students in attendance were present due to the requirements within their fall semester course work.
“I’m here as part of my class, Religion in America, but I’m excited to find out who our president will be,” said freshman Jacqueline Reilly. “I’m hoping the winner will be decided tonight, although I’ve heard it could be later.”