Stossel, whose show airs on Fox Business Network on Thursdays at 9 p.m., is a libertarian.
The taping was more candid than what will appear on television; there were multiple takes on certain segments, the producers had the audience applaud on cue, and Stossel reviewed his questions on index cards before stating them in front of the camera.
Stossel hosted speakers from both sides of the political spectrum who discussed controversial issues such as campus restrictions of free speech, high tuition costs and same-sex marriage.
The first guest speakers — Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum and a UNC alumna, and Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — discussed Heath’s discomfort with having the minority political view at a mostly liberal University.
“I think it happens to conservative and libertarian students more, that their voices are shut down,” Heath said.
Stossel went on to address campus policies that infringe students’ freedom of speech. He was critical that the University has replaced the term ‘freshman’ with ‘first-year student.’
Stossel also said universities have become an expensive scam — which drew “boos” from the crowd — and that big research universities cause taxpayers to take a hit and tuition to increase.
UNC’s entrepreneur in residence Buck Goldstein responded that research is an integral part of prestigious universities.
“Some of the most intellectually talented people in the world are here,” he said.
Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality North Carolina, and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of North Carolina Values Coalition, discussed Amendment One, which banned gay marriage in May.
“The history of our country is telling gays to stay in the closet,” Stossel said.
The debate drew vocal responses from audience members.
Stossel was generally well-received by the audience.
Junior Ethan Butler, a member of Young Americans for Liberty who attended the event, said he is a fan of Stossel.
“I wouldn’t really think of John Stossel as being conservative,” he said. “I would think of him as having common sense.”
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