Debate Proposal

To Whom It May Concern:

This document is the official proposal of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to host the first Associated Student Body (ASB) Presidential Debate of the 2009-2010 academic school year. The following sections outline the purpose of SPJ’s hosting the debate, it’s choice of venue and the mission of SPJ.

Mission of the First SPJ Sponsored ASB Debate
The objective of the Society of Professional Journalists hosting this year’s first ASB Presidential Debate is to ensure that the debate provides the best possible information on issues concerning the University of Mississippi student assembly. The Society will follow the rules and guidelines held by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). In doing this, SPJ seeks to build on the political awareness raised by last year's U.S. Presidential Debate at UM and to further begin a tradition of political involvement on the part of students and to further the student educational experience in the areas of politics and journalism.

The Event
The event includes an approximately hour-long debate starting at a time and date to be determined and will be held in the auditorium of The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. As the debate will follow the CPD traditional moderator format, The Society will provide a non-partisan moderator of credible student journalistic standards to ask questions of the candidates.

In addition to the debate, the main hallway of the Overby Center will be transformed into “Campaign Alley” where SPJ will provide tables for all ASB candidates (Vice-President, Treasurer, etc) to set up booths and discuss their positions with the student assembly. This portion of the program will begin 30 minutes prior to the debate.

The Venue
The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics is the ideal location for a debate hosted by a journalism based organization concerning the political organization known as the Associated Student Body. The Center is funded through a grant from the Freedom Forum, a foundation dedicated to educating people about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. The Center's mission is to create better understanding of the media and politicians and the role of the First Amendment in U.S. democracy.

The Center features programs, multimedia displays and writings that examine the independent and interrelated relationships of the media and politicians; past, present and future. Because many leaders in media and politics have come from the South, the Overby Center pays special attention to Southern perspectives.

As a student group within the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, SPJ has availability to use the Overby Center, free-of-charge and with preference.

Society of Professional Journalists
The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ is a non-profit that promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members. Our organization works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.

The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities. It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

And it is the mission of the University of Mississippi Chapter to uphold these truths through workshops, forums, and events; raising awareness of these issues to the university campus.

Thank you for your time and consideration in choosing the Society of Professional Journalists as your host student organization for the first ASB Presidential Debate of 2010.

Warmest regards,

Andrew M. Scott
SPJ Chapter President