After watching the last presidential debate, there are a lot of topics that NBN wanted to hear but were never addressed. With the next debate on Tuesday, here are some questions relevant to college students that we want answered. Are they likely to be asked? Probably not, but we'd love to know President Obama and Governor Romney's responses – their real thoughts, not just the "TV" appropriate ones. And our candidates are great at throwing out numbers and big words and sharing their plans, but what's the common citizen version of it all? These are the questions that I would want answered truthfully, and in a manner that I could understand.
How do you plan to reform the education system so that situations like the Chicago teacher's strike don't happen again?
Chicago Public School teachers went on strike just a few weeks ago because there wasn't enough money in the education system. Lack of funding is an urgent issue that is affecting teachers and students across the nation.
Is it fair that the average woman makes less money than a man for the same amount of work?
Recent data shows that women, on average, only make 86% of what a man makes per hour. From this data it appears that equal pay regardless of gender wasn't a priority in Obama's first term, and I'd like to know if that will change if he is re-elected, and what Romney's view is on the matter.
Would you prioritize passage of the DREAM Act?
Congress proposed the DREAM Act in 2001, but it still hasn't been passed because Bush and Obama both did not make it a priority. With the number of international undergraduates at Northwestern growing each year, this is a question that has a lot of impact on campus.
Do you plan to act on your views on abortion?
We know Obama is pro-choice. We know Romney is pro-life. But if Romney is elected, will abortion (exluding emergencies) be inaccessible? If Obama is re-elected, will abortion be an easier process? The vice-presidential candidates discussed their parties' positions briefly on Thursday, but this doesn't tell us what actions will be implemented.
Would your election be a step backwards for LGBT rights?
Obama is one of the first presidential candidates to take a stance for the LGBTQ population in America by repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" requirement. While that was definitely progress, there's still so many more things he could have done, like repeal DOMA. I want to know if either presidential candidate is going to act on these inequalities.
What's the point in higher education if the job market isn't improving for college graduates?
Northwestern's tuition is roughly $41,000 and increasing every year. With all the money spent on college tuition, it's really scary for a college student to hear that it might not pay off in the end when they're looking for work. How can the candidates justify spending so much time and money on an education that may not be productively used?
Would you consider legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana nationwide?
Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all admitted to cannabis use, and yet it's not legal. Obviously, we know that drug abuse is a problem across all ages and demographic backgrounds. But maybe intolerance isn't the right answer for America.
What's a reasonable number that you think the unemployment rate will be by 2016?
"I'm going to create jobs!" We hear this all the time from both parties, but what are they getting at realistically? The Obama administration has been trying for four years with little progress. The fact that hearing a 7.8 percent unemployment rate is an improvement is pretty pathetic, so what's the number that we can hear and legitmately be excited about?