Ryan Chartrand

Controversial debates strike again tonight with the Associated Students Inc.-sponsored Pro-Life v. Pro-Choice Debate as part of the “True Life Series” at 8 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium.

Nadine Strossen, current president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will face Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute (LTI). The two representatives have only met once before to debate abortion.

“They made careers out of their beliefs; these are not celebrities touring around,” said Michelle Curro, program coordinator for ASI. “Both are very prestigious in their areas.”

Strossen is the first woman and the youngest person ever to head the ACLU. Since becoming ACLU president, Strossen has made more than 200 public presentations each year, including speeches on more than 500 campuses and in many foreign countries. She has also appeared on nearly every national news program for her opinions on legal issues, according to the ACLU Web site.

Besides leading the LTI, Klusendorf travels the country training pro-life advocates on how to persuasively defend their views in the marketplace of ideas. He has written three books and made countless TV and college appearances to argue pro-life. Klusendorf is currently enrolled in the master’s program in Christian apologetics at Biola University, where he is a guest lecturer in bioethics for the “Defending the Faith” lecture series, according to the LTI Web site.

But why more abortion talk after the controversial pro-life display on Dexter Lawn caused such a furor in March?

“This is absolutely, 100 percent based off student feedback,” Curro said.

Unlike ASI events in the past, this is the first that was requested directly by Cal Poly students via an ASI survey on the popular social networking site Facebook. Students had the chance to choose between topics that included gun control and peace in the Middle East as the subjects for future ASI events.

The topic of pro-life versus pro-choice came in first with 29 percent of respondents expressing interest in the topic; 51 percent were female and the rest male.

The event will be moderated by ASI President Brandon Souza and will feature an hour-long, unscreened question and answer period.

“I think it’s a great thing to come to campus,” said Jamey Pappas, campus director of Campus Crusade. However, he said most of Cal Poly’s Crusaders probably won’t make it to the debate because the group’s weekly meeting coincides with the event.

“I think it’s wonderful they’re having a debate,” said Rojean Dominguez, an educator with Peer Health. “(Peer Health) doesn’t take a position either way, but we support the debate.”

As for any controversy that might precede the event, Curro said she doesn’t expect too much trouble at the debate even though she admits it’s a very controversial subject.

“If you can’t have this discussion on a college campus, where can you have it?” she said.

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