Students to debate if gun control laws effectively curtail gun violence

THIBODAUX, La. — Next week Nicholls students will debate the controversial topic of gun control laws.

In the semesterly Nicholls Student Speech Forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in Peltier Auditorium, debaters and some members of the audience will voice their opinions on the topic “Do gun control laws lesson gun violence?”

Nicholls faculty and students voted earlier this semester upon the Student Forum topic out of three choices, and the two debaters were required to be enrolled in or have completed Speech 101, audition and have been coached by speech faculty, including lead coach Dr. Rya Butterfield, who will also moderate the debate.

The student host of the event is James Leininger, a general studies Freshman from Houma, the pro speaker is Joshua Kesler, a biology sophomore from Gonzalez, and the con speaker is Benjamin Gautreaux, a Mass Communications sophomore from Gray. Leininger and Gautreaux are veterans.

As audience members enter Peltier Auditorium, they will be given a pre-vote slip to determine where they stand on an issue before the debate. Each debater will have 8 to 10 minutes to deliver a persuasive speech, with one student arguing the pro side and the other the con side. The floor will then open to the audience, where they will get a chance to voice their opinions, ask questions and raise concerns. Once the public comments are delivered, the speakers will have three minutes for an impromptu conclusion speech.

The audience will then be given a post-vote slip and results will be tabulated and released via the Nicholls Worth.

“The Speech Forum is one of the longest standing traditions at Nicholls,” Butterfield said. “It is a public forum style event hosted by the speech faculty for students each semester.”

The event, which typically draws 300 people, is free and open to the public.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

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