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Join the discussion: Should English be the official language of the United States?

This year Cazenovia College's annual "Great Debate" takes on the issue of English as the official language of the United States. At 7 p.m. on Thursday April 28 in McDonald Lecture Hall of Eckel Hall on Lincklaen Street, the Cazenovia College Debate Society argues whether language unites or divides citizens of the United States.

The debate, in which affirmative and opposition teams will analyze the pros and cons of the resolution "English shall be the official language of the United States," is free and open to the public.

Maureen M. Louis, J.D., associate professor and director of the Communication Studies Program, is also the Debate Society's coach. She said, "Debate is challenging but it is an effective way to deepen our understanding of the key issues of the day. I am glad that this annual event is part of the life of our College." Of this debate, she noted that many Americans do not speak English as their first language, and asked, "Is that a problem?"

Of the more than 20 students on the debate team, several are from Central New York, including Alexander M. Baker, of Fulton, a senior who will argue for the affirmative and Ryan C. McGovern, of Syracuse, a junior who will argue in opposition. Nicole E. Modafferi, of Cicero, is a pariticpating senior who will also argue in opposition alongside Kimberly N. Norton, of Mexico, N.Y.

As each student has a different background, each has a different view and approach to debate. Baker is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies; McGovern is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental studies, specializing in environmental biology; Modafferi is working toward a bachelor of fine arts degree in fashion design and Norton is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies.

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