Four candidates for the at-large spot on the regents’ board of the state’s flagship university faced off Monday night over whether guns should be allowed on campuses, legalizing marijuana and whether children of illegal immigrants should be given discounted tuition to the University of Colorado system.
CU at-large regent Stephen Ludwig, who was first elected in 2006, defended his record over the past six years against challengers Brian Davidson, a Republican anesthesiologist; Daniel Ong, a Boulder Libertarian; and Tyler Belmont, an 18-year-old Colorado Springs high school student representing the American Constitution Party.
The four took questions from a panel of three students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs event.
When Amendment 64 came up — a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana — Ludwig and Davidson took sides against Ong and Belmont and said marijuana should never be allowed on campuses.
“The health risks far outweigh the benefits,” Davidson said.
Ong has proposed in the past that taxes from marijuana sales could be used to fund higher education, and Belmont said the measure could benefit the university system in several other ways.
Ludwig pointed out that medical marijuana isn’t even allowed on campuses, and quipped that people “shouldn’t be allowed to get high, even for higher education.”
The four also split on the long-controversial question of whether concealed guns should be allowed on campuses.
Ludwig and Ong took strong stances on opposite sides — Ludwig against guns and Ong in favor — but Belmont and Davidson were more cautious.
Davidson hedged his statement, saying that the universities are “not above the law,” but shifted and said the gun issue is “a distraction from the real issues.”
Belmont said he could see both sides of the argument, but ultimately said people should keep guns off college campuses.
When the candidates were asked about illegal immigration, all immediately began talking about a Democratic bill called ASSET, which would create a third tuition category for the children of illegal immigrants. The tuition would be much cheaper than out-of-state tuition, but slightly more expensive than in-state.
Belmont and Ludwig again took sides against Davidson and Ong.
The first two said that the Democratic bill is not only fair to children who were born in America, but would ultimately help the state and the economy by producing better-educated employees.
“It’s immoral to hold a child responsible for something their parents did or did not do,” said Ludwig.
Davidson and Ong countered that passing such a bill would encourage law-breaking immigrants, and would cheat legal Americans who have to pay out-of-state tuition.