Photo by Kris Crawford

The Otterbein Department of Communication held a debate Wednesday to answer the question of whether the university should allow students to have licensed firearms on campus. 

This debate was the third in the new series of ‘Otterbein Debates,’ a concept brought to life by the faculty and staff in the communication department. In an effort to have more programs for Otterbein TV, Production Coordinator and Assistant Director of Television Mark Pfeiffer reached out to Professor Susan Millsap.

The topics are chosen based on what the campus would find interesting. They chose the first debate topic, Cardinal vs Otter, due it being held around the same time as homecoming. 

“There’s always an argument over what should be our mascot,” said Millsap. “We were surprised at the interest we got from that. We were surprised at how many people came down and watched it.” 


Millsap said the debates are beneficial to her competitive debate students. She said the debaters often get focused on the issues they have to present, and that they can forget what else is going on.

“This opens them up to other issues and topics,” said Millsap. “It also helps them to apply what they’re learning in competitive debate to some more real world type issues.”

Participants prepare for the debates by researching their topics and meeting with Millsap. They are encouraged to do library research, look at current events, talk to students on campus and to learn the university’s policies regarding the issue. 


“When they say ‘yeah, allow drinking on campus,’ what does that mean?” said Millsap, in reference to the alcohol policy debate. 

The most recent debate was the second for sophomore communication studies major Mara Daugherty. She volunteered to represent the affirmative side, allowing licensed firearms on campus, after learning the topic of the debate. 

“I was a lot more interested in this topic versus the alcohol policy,” said Daugherty. “So I think I’ve done more research on this one.” 

The final votes were three for keeping the policy the same and two for allowing licensed firearms on campus.

“I got more votes than I thought I was going to,” said Daugherty.