WCU students and staff react to President Obama’s final State of the Union Address

People gather at WCU UC to watch President Obama's final State of the Union, Jan. 12, 2016. Photo by Chad Grant.

People gather at WCU UC to watch President Obama’s final State of the Union, Jan. 12, 2016. Photo by Chad Grant.

President Obama gave his final State of the Union Address on Jan.12. In his address to the nation the president discussed key issues including climate change, terror threats, cheaper college and immigration reform. 

 “If anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change have at it. You will be pretty lonely because you will be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community and nearly 200 countries around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it,” said Obama addressing the climate change.

With this point the Director of Service Learning at WCU, Lane Perry, who was at the watch party in the UC center, agrees.  

“Climate change is a major issue in the world right now. Whether you believe it is global warming or global cooling there is global climate change going on. Pretty much everyone agrees that something is going on and that there are things we can do to remediate it,” said Perry. 

Something that the president did not touch on as much as many people believed he would was gun control. WCU student Mick Cauthen says he “wishes President Obama would have been a little bit more specific on gun control and what he plans to do with his executive action.” Cauthen also said that he believes President Obama’s legacy will be that he “established a precedent of action in the middle east without putting American lives at risk.”

President Obama challenged Republicans on foreign policy and the growing threat of ISIS.

“I know that this is a dangerous time but that is not because of some looming super power out there and certainly not because of diminished American strength.” He was very clear that ISIS and Al Qaeda are terrorist networks and that his number one priority is to take them out.

The President also said that he wants to make community college free for all Americans. He discussed how being educated is the key to being successful. That is something that many Americans agree with. 

“The one thing I wish president Obama would have discussed more is the affordability of higher education,” said Perry. “Although, what we can align with what he said is that institutions of higher learning can be centers for innovation. Higher education is a major tool for individuals to be innovative or to be innovators.”

Once the President’s speech had concluded Republican Governor Nikki Haley gave the GOP’s rebuttal to the President’s speech. She discussed how she believed that if a Republican were in office taxes would decrease and that there would be more jobs. She also discussed how we cannot continue to let immigrants come to America illegally. 

“Nikki Haley is a solid example of stepping up in a time of crisis,” said Perry.“What happened in Charleston this last year was a crisis if ever there was one. I felt her response was appropriate.”