The Young Democrats claimed the balcony of philanthropic hall, the college republicans staked their claim on the Eumenean hall balcony, and the libertarians stood firmly on the ground between them for a picturesque presidential debate during Family Weekend. President Carol Quillen greeted the crowd, then turned over the proceedings to moderator Grey Gordon ’15. He posed several questions to the student surrogates, then yielded the floor to professors Susan Roberts, Ken Menkhaus, and Vikram Kumar, who posed questions in their fields of expertise—domestic policy, foreign policy, and economic policy.
The regal setting of the event recalled 19th-century campus life. Phi and Eu halls, which are both listed on the National historic register, were constructed in 1849 and 1850 as homes to the two prominent extracurricular organizations of the day. The phi and Eu societies vied for prominence on campus through readings, oratorical contests, and social events. As was recreated on this occasion, their rivalry occasionally took the form of debates between members standing on the balconies of their respective houses.
For the Family Weekend event, hundreds of spectators crowded into and around the space between the two buildings. many brandished signs promoting one of the two leading candidates, but the debaters and the audience remained scrupulously respectful of the opposition throughout. For those absent, the historic recreation was modernized just a little bit—the event was broadcast worldwide via a live stream to the internet, and is available at davidson.edu/live/debate.
— BILL GIDUZ