By Tyler Koteskey and Deepak Sahni

Young Americans for Liberty at UCLA is writing to protest the organization and content of the mock presidential debate between the Bruin Democrats and the Bruin Republicans held this Wednesday.

The Bruin Libertarians approached the staff in charge of organizing the debate and asked that the Libertarian viewpoint be represented in the event. But rather than being given an opportunity, the Bruin Libertarians were barred from equal participation, were left completely in the dark and were never given the chance to speak at all.

While Young Americans for Liberty at UCLA is not affiliated with Bruin Libertarians, the Libertarian Party or Gary Johnson’s campaign, we support fair representation and non-exclusionary tactics to open up the political dialogue on campus.

At an educational institution as highly regarded as UCLA, we should be making every effort to bring the positive changes we want to see in the political process ““ because mock debates model the real-world application of politics.

By shutting out alternative viewpoints, we are teaching our students to accept the same oppressive methods that hamper our democracy every election season.

With only two major parties to represent this entire country, we are shutting out novel solutions to our country’s problems that neither party has the courage to step up and consider.

Furthermore, the debate did not include any opportunities for audience participation. People in attendance could only watch both sides ask each other tired, partisan talking points. To model true civic responsibility, the Bruin Democrats and Bruin Republicans should open themselves up to scrutiny from voters who are not necessarily aligned with either party.

On a parting note, while this incident is regrettable, Young Americans for Liberty at UCLA hopes to work with both the Bruin Republicans and Democrats in the future to open up the political process on campus so that all viewpoints are represented.

Let’s set an example together of what a vibrant and open democratic process can be. Let’s be true Bruins ““ and true Americans ““ and start representing what America is supposed to be about.

Koteskey is a second-year history and political science student and the president of Young Americans for Liberty at UCLA. Sahni is a fifth-year political science student and chief of staff of Young Americans for Liberty.