Green Party congressional candidate Michael Powelson was excluded from a congressional candidates debate on the Cal State Northridge (CSUN) campus on April 30.
Despite pleas by students and community members, the CSUN External Affairs Committee of the Associated Students - which hosted the event - issued a statement that it excluded Powelson because "The Committee felt that an over abundance of candidates took away from the substance and quality of the discussion."
Protestors arrived at the Valley Arts Performing Center on the CSUN campus an hour and a half before the debate and according to The Daily Sundail, set the tone of the debate early on. "Angered by the exclusion of third-party candidate and former CSUN professor Michael Powelson, audience members began heckling the candidates and moderators within the first five minutes of the event, resulting in the removal of two audience members, one of which was Powelson himself, and the threat to remove a third." Featured in the debate were two Democrats and two Republicans.
Powelson is on the June 5th, 2012 ballot for the 30th Congressional District against incumbents Brad Sherman and Howard Berman and eight others. Powelson's credentials include having taught at CSUN and LA Valley College as a History Professor. He also received a PhD from Columbia University and has been endorsed by the Green Party of Los Angeles County.
Speaking at the protest preceding the debate, Powelson said “there is no downside to including someone such as myself. In a democracy you allow all voices to be expressed. If you don’t allow them to be expressed, they don’t go away they just get pushed underground."
Addressing the underfunding of higher education, he added "California’s best and brightest should have access to free education regardless of their economic background. Charter schools and raising tuition are the corporate “solutions” to revenue cuts caused by tax breaks for the rich and the swindles of Wall Street. I embrace a return to the free quality education for all system that was put in place in the 1960s. California is a far wealthier state now than fifty years ago, and we should have an educational system that reflects the great talent and wealth of this state."'