By Maria Zaldivar for the Hofstra Chronicle
The first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle caused commotion for students all over campus, in which politics was a constant conversation on Monday, Sept. 26. As soon as Hofstra replaced Wright State University as the venue for the historical event, students did not hold back their opinions, especially on the Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Tyler Acampora, a sophomore marketing major, won a ticket to watch the debate live.
“A few times in pop culture there are instances where a man is putting down a woman’s accomplishment and taking credit for it, like with Taylor Swift and Kanye West, so I think that seeing a woman as the leader of the free world may help little girls advocate for themselves and get the idea that they can do anything,” Acampora said.
Being a role model for young women has become a major part of Clinton’s campaign. Paige Altman, a freshman business major, argued that Clinton is a powerful and smart woman. “She has worked in the White House before so she has the preparation.”
Acampora agreed, “[Clinton] has the most experience and is the most qualified person in the country to become the president.”
Danielle Ribaudo, a junior English literature major, shared the same sentiment as Acampora and Altman.
“As a Democrat I am super stoked that we could have a woman president. I believe that it is especially important for girls to have such a great precedent,” Ribaudo said. “Just the idea that anyone could run for president no matter if you are a boy, girl, no matter your race, your creed, etc., is incredible.”
Although several people would agree that seeing a woman as a major party nominee and a possible president would attract the majority of women voters, others remained unconvinced.
“I am very excited to see a woman as president, however I do not think that she is the right person for the job. She’s not the way I want women to be represented,” Dana DiPretoro, a senior psychology major said.
In addition to how Clinton represents women, mistrust in the candidate also played a role in student’s views.
“What I am focusing with Hillary is if I can trust her. It does not matter what she says policy-wise if it is all going to be a lie anyway so I just want to be reassured,” Branden Valliere, a junior accounting major said.
Michael Fernandez, a sophomore music education major said,“I think it is pretty great that she is the first woman nominee and it would be really cool to have a woman president. I just do not trust Hillary since the emails keep leaking.”
Sharing this concern, Alex Homsany, a senior speech pathology major said, “If we can’t trust her to be secretary of state, why should [she] be trusted as president of our country?”
The two party system that dominates American politics was another root of students’ opinions on Clinton.
“A lot of people see her as the lesser of two evils,” Tyler Ellis, a junior history major said. “I was a Bernie supporter and I am more comfortable with [Clinton] as she reassures that she will continue with some of Bernie’s policies.”
Some students believed that regardless of opinions, the influence of the debate – as well as what Clinton represents – should not be undermined.
“Although I don’t support everything she stands for, she is a powerful, successful woman,” Ribuado said. “Regardless of what people say, she is here and she is still going strong.”
Regardless of which candidate students support, there was a general agreement on the history that Clinton has forged so far for women.
Tyler Fleury, a sophomore studying secondary English education said, “We can say we were here while history is in the making. It is a historical moment for women.”