The National Security Agency (NSA) is watching everything you do — or at least that is what some students at the latest Keene State College debate tried to convince their audience on Wednesday, April 2. 

KSC’s Debate Club  invited students to a public debate to bring issues into the spotlight that they deemed to be necessary for KSC students to be aware of.

Junior and President of the KSC Debate Club, Ryan Scrivano, estimated approximately 120 people attended the event hosted by the club. Scrivano said from what he heard, everybody was, “relatively impressed by the way it [the debate] was formatted and the way that we presented the information.”

One topic included the question of if students receiving scholarships directly from KSC should be randomly drug tested. KSC senior Daniel Marks argued that KSC would be seen as an institution that was holding itself to a higher standard.

“When KSC awards you with a scholarship, they are putting an investment into you. If students are doing drugs, there is a greater chance that that investment will be lost,” Marks said.

Working the opposite remarks was sophomore Tanner Semmelrock, who argued enforcing this rule would push the brilliant minds from considering this school.

Vanessa Brooks / Equinox Staff

Vanessa Brooks / Equinox Staff

“If students are surpassing all standards in their academics and getting the grades, why should they be punished? If we take away their scholarships, they may just leave KSC,” Semmelrock said.

Scrivano said, “People don’t really think about the issue of drug testing and the way it takes away money on what they are spending towards college, because if they are spending a thousand dollars a year, just hypothetically on drugs and they’re getting scholarships from the college, then they are actually taking away the opportunity because they could have spent that full thousand dollars on tuition instead of illegal substances.”

Scrivano continued, “Seeing that this is very much a liberal community, people were very opinionated about that. Some believe that students should be drug tested because it takes away the financial opportunity and it strengthens the image of the college. Other people believe they shouldn’t fringe upon your privacy.”

Other topics presented at the debate regarded whether or not the death penalty should be legal, and if professors should be allowed tenure.

“The NSA has reported that it has been able to prevent around fifty terrorist attacks due to its collection of data,” student Johana Nieves stated, striking home a point showing that the mass collection of data saves American lives.

Scrivano said the Debate Club brainstorms topics that are relevant to present at each debate.

When it comes to public debates, he said that his team,  “will  focus on those couple of topics and take three to four weeks to prep it, understand it, study it, research it and prepare for the event.”

According to Scrivano, the KSC Debate Club was recently invited to join the American Democracy Project (ADP), a national organization that, according to the Debate Club executive board member Zachary Koehler, allows the club to participate in conferences and gain money for public debates.

“Each semester they [ADP] have public events hosted at the college,” Scrivano said, “The American Democracy Project recognized our club as the potential core club, which we proved ourselves after a period of time to be specifically engaged with the community and they brought us on board with their organization.”

According to the ADP website, there are 250 participating colleges and universities.

Scrivano commented on the awareness he said the Debate Club has brought to KSC.

“After the four past public debates it has really brought more engagement to the community about talking about real issues. The more awareness, the better off the community is and that way if people are understanding it they can make their own assessments and opinions more rational, not based on what other people say.”

Scrivano and junior Mimi Levesque closed out Wednesday night debating senior William Pearson and sophomore Connor O’Brien on whether teachers should receive tenure and if there are merits to the death penalty. “There is an old saying that states: An eye for an eye. But there is also a saying that states: An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” Levesque said when arguing her point that the death penalty should be discontinued as a form of punishment; even for the most heinous of crimes.


If interested in joining the Keene State Debate Club, meetings are Wednesdays at 6:00 in the Media Art Center, Room 158.


Kenzie Travers can be contacted at


Zachary Koehler is The Equinox Webmaster. Zachary Koehler can be contacted at

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