Debate Series Debuts at 5Cs

College Crossfire, a new event series at the Claremont Colleges, debuted this week. A panel of experts from the colleges sat in Balch Auditorium to discuss a controversial topic: the Keystone XL pipeline.

The panel consisted of three professors from Pomona College and two professors from Claremont McKenna College. Richard Hazlett and Karl Lang, both geology professors, and John Jurewitz, an economics lecturer, represented Pomona. CMC government professor William Christian and William Ascher, a government and economics professor, also participated in the panel.

The aim of the event was to give professors the chance to show their knowledge in the debate.

“This is right in the center of my field of expertise and teaching,” Jurewitz wrote in an email to TSL. “If I don't have something intelligent to say about this issue, then I might as well hang up my mortarboard and retire.”

The discussion, despite focusing primarily on the Keystone XL pipeline, also touched on alternatives to nuclear energy, the gap between the scientific and political realms, and many other topics.

Students saw their professors outside of the classroom environment. For instance, Hazlett beamed as he got the opportunity to share his personal views on the current relationship between the scientific and political world and how it relates to that of 50 years ago.

Although College Crossfire’s name was inspired by the defunct CNN program that brought in liberal and conservative pundits to discuss current events, Philippa Haven SC '17, the founder, said that she would like the event to be much more intellectual.

"We don't want it to be fighting," she said. "We just want different views to be expressed."

Other colleges across the nation will have other Crossfire. For instance, Brandeis University will debut their own version of College Crossfire soon. In the long term, Haven would like to see the College Crossfire at Claremont model expanded to even more campuses.

College Crossfire intends to expand to include more professors who want to step outside the constraints of the classroom and more students wanting to get educated. The next installment of College Crossfire will take place after spring break. A time and date for the event have not yet been announced; details will soon be announced on the group's Facebook page.