Yale Political Union debates are regularly scheduled for 7:30pm on Tuesdays in Sudler Hall auditorium (on the second floor of William L. Harkness Hall [100 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511]) unless specified otherwise. All Yale Political Union debates are free and open to the public. All are welcome.
For any questions about guest speaker details, upcoming debate considerations, the ongoing planning of Yale Political Union debate forums, and opportunities to participate, please contact the President of the Yale Political Union, Brian Cashin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fall 2017 Debates and Guests
Tuesday, September 5th, at 7:00 p.m. (tentatively in Woolsey Hall [500 College Street, New Haven, CT 06511]): Fall Organizational Debate with Governor Piyush "Bobby" Jindal
Bobby Jindal served two terms as the Governor of Louisiana from 2008 to 2016. He was the first Indian American governor in United States history and a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election. Jindal served as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, and he previously served two terms in Congress, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, Secretary of Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana, and as the youngest president in the history of the University of Louisiana System.
Tuesday, September 12th: Carmen Deseraie Berkley
Carmen Deseraie Berkley is the Director of the Civil, Human, and Women’s Rights Department of the AFL-CIO. She is the former Regional Field Director for the NAACP and is a an experienced and well-respected activist with a successful career record of defending women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBTQ rights.
Monday, September 18th: John Arena
John Arena is a City of Chicago Alderman for the 45th Ward and a Democratic Politician. He is a member of the Committee on Aviation, Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics, Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, Committee on Finance, Committee on License and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation. He is also a founding member of the Chicago Progressive Reform Coalition.
Monday, September 25th: Jesús "Chuy" Garcia and Mark Stewart
Jesús “Chuy” Garcia is a current Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Commissioners for Cook County, Illinois. Commissioner Garcia is a renowned progressive reformer and a former candidate for Mayor of the City of Chicago who challenged Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 Chicago Mayoral Election, receiving enough votes to force the first mayoral runoff in Chicago history. Since the 2015 mayoral election, Commissioner Garcia has remained highly active in his efforts to advocate for progressive reform. He assisted in the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential campaign and continues to be a frontline proponent of teachers unions and a champion of immigrant rights. Commissioner Garcia is expected to be a leading candidate in the 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election.
Mark Stewart is a reform politician who is an expected candidate for the 2018 Connecticut Gubernatorial Election. Mr. Stewart emphasizes a liberty ideology which focuses on decisively scaling back government in order to promote freedom. He is a staunch critic of socialism, opposes income taxes, and is an advocate of strictly balanced budget policies.
Tuesday, October 3rd: Peter Schiff
Peter Schiff is the CEO of Euro Pacific Canada, Inc., a successful global brokerage firm. Mr. Schiff is an author, a well-known financial commentator, a radio personality, an investment banker, and a precious metals dealer.
Tuesday, October 10th: Joanne Golann
Joanne Golann is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Professor Golann is a sociologist and ethnographer whose research focuses on the interactions and influences between students, teachers, and families in urban communities. She is a noted critic of many urban charter school initiatives.
Tuesday, October 24th: The Freshman Prize Debate
A landmark Yale Political Union tradition, the Freshman Prize Debate is an opportunity for new and prospective union frosh members to showcase their wealth of talent in the spirited atmosphere of a friendly prize debate.
Monday, October 30th: Mark Stern
Mark Stern is a distinguished contributing writer at Slate online magazine who writes extensively on political and legal issues. A secular Jew, Mr. Stern is a strong advocate of LGBTQ rights and social progressivism and writes in the interest of preventing violations of the rights of women, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities.
Monday, November 6th: Jeffrey Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker is an American Economics Writer of the Austrian School. A man of diverse interests with a notable depth of knowledge in many fields, Mr. Tucker is a libertarian book publisher, a journalism and technology professional, and a strong advocate of anarcho-capitalism and Bitcoin. He serves as the Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me, a global libertarian network.
Tuesday, November 14th: Chagmion Antoine
Chagmion Antoine is an investigative journalist, producer, CBS reporter, actor, and the first openly LGBTQ female journalist to be featured on national television as an anchor. Ms. Antoine writes and reports on immigration controversies, gender discrimination, and police brutality among other subjects.
Tuesday, November 28th: Ann Lee
Ann Lee is a globally recognized expert on U.S. - China Relations. She is a Professor at New York University and a former Visiting Professor at Peking University. An author of several books which have garnered high levels of critical acclaim, Professor Lee is the author of What the U.S. Can Learn from China; she is also a former investment banker in international financial securities. This autumn Professor Lee will be promoting her upcoming book (Will China's Economy Collapse? [Polity 2017] [ISBN: 978-1-5095-2013-8]) which will be published during this coming summer of 2017.
Tuesday, December 5th: Candice Cook and Stephan Kinsella
Candice Cook is a Managing Member of Ca-Co Global Inc. and The Cook Law Group; she is a highly successful attorney who has been recognized as an innovator and leader in the legal field. Ms. Cook specializes in corporate, tech, startup, and entertainment law.
Stephan Kinsella is the Director for the Center of the Study for Innovative Freedom. Apart from being both an intellectual property lawyer and an engineer, Mr. Kinsella is also a Libertarian thinker and a well-respected contract theorist with distinction in several fields.
Spring Semester 2017 Debates and Guests
Tuesday, January 17: Spring Organizational Debate with Lincoln Chafee
Governor Chafee served as mayor of Warwick from 1993 to 1999, as a United States Senator from 1999 to 2007, and as the 74th Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015. He is well known for his more liberal social positions, his more conservative fiscal positions, and his vote against the US invasion of Iraq.
Tuesday, January 24: Steve Freeman ...
Steve Freeman is Director of Legal Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League -- an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. It is the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, through information, education, legislation, and advocacy.
... and Michael Bronski
Michael Bronski is Professor of Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He has been involved with LGBT politics since 1969 as an activist, organizer, writer, publisher, editor, and independent scholar.
Tuesday, January 31: Michael Tanner
Michael Tanner is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute whose research focuses on poverty and social welfare policy, health care reform, and Social Security. He has recently undertaken a major project to develop innovative solutions to poverty and inequality. His books include “Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis” and “A New Deal for Social Security,” and his writings have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times.
Tuesday, February 7: Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell
Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell is the Director of Service Year Alliance, a joint venture of the Aspen Institute and Be The Change for make a year of service - a service year - a common opportunity, cultural expectation, and new civic rite of passage for young people growing up in America.
Monday, February 13: Jonah Goldberg
Jonah Goldberg is an American conservative syndicated columnist, author and commentator. Goldberg writes about politics and culture for National Review, where he is a Senior Editor. He is the author of several books.
Tuesday, February 21: Gardner White Prize Debate
Tuesday, February 28: Diane Heith
Diane J. Heith, Ph.D is a Professor and Chair of the Government and Politics Department at St. John’s University. She is the author of Polling to Govern: Public Opinion and Presidential Leadershi and co-editor of In the Public Domain: Presidents and the Challenges of Public Leadership.
Tuesday, March 7: Heather Mac Donald
Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. A recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize, and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The New Criterion.
Tuesday, March 28: John Brittain
He had previously served as Dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of law at Texas Southern University in Houston, as a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years, and as Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., a public interest law organization founded by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers in taking pro bono cases in civil rights.
Tuesday, April 4: Tom Woods
Tom Woods is American historian, political commentator, author, and podcaster, a New York Times Best-Selling author who has published twelve books, including "Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century" and "The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era."
Tuesday, April 11: Camille Paglia
"Resolved: Religion Belongs in the Curriculum"
Paglia is a Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a critic of American feminism and of post-structuralism as well as a commentator on multiple aspects of American culture such as its visual art, music, and film history.
Monday, April 17: Party Prize Debate
A celebrated Yale Political Union tradition, the Party Prize Debate is an opportunity for each of the seven parties of the union to showcase two of their most talented speakers. Yale Political Union parties compete for awards and more during this lively and inevitably memorable prize debate.
Monday, April 24: Bulldog Days Debate with Dr. Jill Stein
"Resolved: Make Public College Free"
Dr. Jill Stein is a renowned advocate for environmental activism, health, and universal well-being. Dr. Stein was the Green Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 and 2012 elections and a candidate for the Governor of Massachusetts in 2010 and 2002. As a physician and politician, Dr. Stein has campaigned for a Green New Deal which would make the United States achieve 100% clean renewable energy capacity by 2030 and which would be aimed at creating jobs, ending U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and turning the tide on climate change once and for all. A prolific proponent of social responsibility, Dr. Stein has voiced her support for ambitious student debt relief efforts and the creation of a “Medicare-for-All” healthcare system.
Fall Semester 2016 Debates and Guests
Tuesday September 6th: Fall Organizational Debate
Tuesday September 13th: Dalibor Rohac
Dalibor Rohac is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies European political and economic trends. Before joining AEI,
Rohac was affiliated with the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, the London-based Legatum Institute, and the Center for the New Europe in Brussels. Rohac’s analyses and commentary have been published widely in the media, including in the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal Europe. His recent book published in May, Toward a More Imperfect Union, makes a conservative case for maintaining the EU.
Tuesday September 20th: Glenn Loury
Glenn Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. Dr. Loury is a prominent social critic and public intellectual, writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has written several books, including “The Anatomy of Racial Inequality,” and “Race, Incarceration and American Values.”
Friday September 23: Discussion with Jill Kelley at 4 pm in the Silliman Common Room
Jill Kelley is an advocate, activist and author on electronic privacy rights. Her newly published memoir “Collateral Damage; Petraeus, Power, Politics and the Abuse of Privacy,” details the damage that can be caused by our government’s electronic overreach. Ms. Kelley has an extensive background in global affairs and
cross cultural diplomacy from her appointments as Honorary Diplomat to the Republic of South Korea and as the first Honorary Ambassador to the US Central Command Coalition. Ms. Kelley’s presentation will be presented by the Jill Kelley Foundation, a tax exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Tuesday September 27th: Mark Schnieder
Mark Schneider is a Vice President and an Institute Fellow at AIR, as well as a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education selected him as one of the 10 people who had the most impact on higher education policy in that year. Dr. Schneider’s work seeks to increase accountability by making data on college productivity more publicly available. He has written many articles and books including “Higher Education Accountability,” and “Getting to Graduation.”
Tuesday October 4th: Freshman Prize Debate — Resolved: The Arc of History Curves Toward Justice (SSS 114)
Tuesday October 11th: Heather Mac Donald (Rescheduled for March 2017)
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Her work at City Journal has canvassed a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing and racial profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race relations. She is a prolific writer, including books such as “The War on Cops,” and “The Burden of Bad Ideas.” Mac Donald is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs, and she is an alumna of Yale College.
Tuesday October 25th: David Kotz (Cancelled)
David Kotz is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Distinguished Professor in the School of Economics at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. His background includes activism in the civil rights and antiwar movements in the 1960s and 70s, and, more recently, books such as, “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” and “The Demise of the Soviet System.”
*In the event of this guest cancellation, we will be holding a student debate on the resolution R: Reject Free-market Economics.*
Tuesday 11/1: Paul Steiger
This coming Tuesday, on November 1st, the Union will meet with Paul Steiger to debate R: Embrace Offensive Media. Paul Steiger was the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal from 1991 - 2007 and is the founder of ProPublica, a news source focused on independent investigative journalism for the public interest. In 2010, Propublica.org became the first online news source to win a Pulitzer Prize.
11/4-11/5: The YPU presents the Democracy Colloquium 2016
Monday November 7th: Election Debate, co-hosted with the Yale Debate Association, R: Cast a Protest Vote
Tuesday November 15th: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig and Ronald Lindsay, Resolved: Religion Should Have No Place in Government
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig is an assistant editor at the Washington Post, where she writes about ethics, politics, culture, and Christianity. She has written for publications like Jacobin Magazine, The Atlantic, and Spotlight on Poverty. Bruenig places herself on the Christian Left, and much of her work seeks to carve out a place for religion in left-leaning circles.
Ronald Lindsay is the President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry and of its affiliates, the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has published a number of articles on topics as diverse as bioethics, the morality of assisted suicide, and the need for equal rights for LGBT individuals. Collectively, his work forms the foundation of a discussion of nonreligious ethics.
11/30: Steven Calabresi, R: Appoint Activist Judges
Steven Calabresi is a Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, where he teachers Comparative Constitutional Law. He is the co-founder of the Federalist Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to discussing and debating questions of legal conservatism at its various Law School chapters across the country. Professor Calabresi served the Reagan and Bush administrations from 1985-1990. He is the nephew of Guido Calabresi.
12/6: Martha Nussbaum, R: Anger is politically unproductive
Martha Nussbaum is a philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Nussbaum’s work has often focused on the unequal freedoms and opportunities of women, and she has developed a distinctive type of feminism, drawing inspiration from the liberal tradition, but emphasizing that liberalism, at its best, entails radical rethinking of gender relations and relations within the family. Nussbaum has engaged in many spirited debates with other intellectuals, including Judith Butler and John Rawls.