Hillary Clinton’s campaign team talks to CYN about issues facing South Carolina students

Clinton attended the South Carolina Democratic Women's Council Day In Blue on May 27 in Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Hillary for America via Flickr Creative Commons).

Clinton attended the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council Day In Blue on May 27 in Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Hillary for America via Flickr Creative Commons).

With two GOP debates complete and Donald Trump jokes abound, you might be wondering, what about the Democratic candidates? Not to fear, the party’s first debate will sound off on Oct. 13. While we may never hear the end of the controversial emails Hillary Clinton sent over a private server during her time as Secretary of State, there is more to her campaign than defending those messages. Clinton’s South Carolina Campaign team invited CYN to a conference call discussing issues facing students in the state.

The update was hosted by Hillary for America South Carolina State Director Clay Middleton.  Also in attendance was Clinton’s senior policy advisor Maya Harris and policy advisor Vivek Viswanathan. Middleton, Harris and Viswanathan focused the conference on two main issues: reducing the amount of student loan debt and the mishandling of rising sexual assault on campuses.

At the start of the conference Middleton made sure to note that “this campaign won’t take a single voter for granted.” He added that Hillary for America has made every effort to talk to citizens from “all places of worship, schools and work”.

Viswanathan outlined Clinton’s plan announced earlier this month, called the New College Compact, which aims to ensure cost is no longer a barrier to attending college and debt does not hold students back once they graduate. Viswanathan explained, “in-state students should never have to borrow money to attend a four year college” and “two year community colleges should be free.” He added there needs be a significant decrease in interest rates.

The plan requires the federal government, states and colleges and universities to “step up” and do their part. Text in the New College Compact explains, “States are going to have to re-invest in higher education and colleges and universities must work to reduce costs and raise graduation rates.

Harris spoke on Clinton’s drive to end the trend of sexual assault on campuses, saying “every student deserves a safe environment.” Clinton plans to build on the work of the Obama Administration and aims to take on new challenges and to tackle problems facing this issues that have yet to be solved. Clinton has outlined a comprehensive campaign to end sexual assault, which works to address the root cause of the problem.

The campaign is built on three core principals. The first is to provide comprehensive support to survivors including counseling and critical health care. Second is to ensure a fair process for everyone involved. This includes both campus disciplinary proceedings and criminal justice systems. Harris said campus sexual assaults are a “civil rights violation and an issue of discrimination in education.” Harris continued that Clinton wants to ensure complaints filed are taken seriously. The third aspect of the campaign is to increase prevention efforts. Harris said this aims to “reverse the tide” by starting prevention efforts earlier. Harris explained, “We start those efforts not only in college and graduate school but that we begin prevention efforts in secondary school where norms begin to set in.” Clinton sees this proposal as part of an overall effort to address and end violence against women across the board at local, state and federal levels.

Middleton concluded the conference by asserting that these policies are “more than just words on paper.” He said Clinton’s campaign team has been “connecting with real people here in South Carolina and throughout the country.”

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Justine Hall is the Managing Editor of CisternYard News. She is an Arts Management and Art History double major with a minor in English. As a native Californian she is still getting used to the South’s shortage of quality Mexican food and acai bowls. When she’s not in the CYN office, she enjoys hot yoga, running, any activities that involve being outside and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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