Debate on the death penalty to take place at WTAMU


September 5, 2018

CONTACT: Dawn Jordan, 806-651-2435,

COPY BY: Brittany Castillo, 806-651-2682,

Debate on the death penalty to take place at WTAMU

CANYON, Texas -- Members of the criminal justice program and association at West Texas A&M University will host a Death Penalty Debate at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11 in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, Legacy Hall.

The timely discussion comes a month after an opioid drug called Fetanyl was administered for the first time in Nebraska, creating new buzz about the definition of “cruel and unusual punishment” with the death penalty. Opposing sides and a middle position will be represented by speakers and moderated by Dawn Jordan, instructor of criminal justice at WTAMU.

“This event is a good way to promote the criminal justice department and association, but it’s also just a good example of critical thinking and discussion about a controversial issue,” Jordan said. “We all grow up differently so usually you take the stance you’re familiar with, but debates like these reminds us there’s always two sides to an issue. There’s a way to disagree that involves listening and standing up for your side.”

Participants for the debate are Jeff Blackburn, criminal defense attorney (against), James Farren, district attorney for Randall County and instructor of criminal justice at WTAMU (for), and Dr. Keith Price, professor of criminal justice and sociology at WTAMU (neutral). The death penalty was last debated on campus in the early 2000s.

“We chose well-respected law specialists in the Amarillo area to represent each side because they show great examples of how to have a civil discussion with maturity. My students have passionate discussion in the classroom, and I think they and the community will enjoy observing professional debating,” Jordan said. “College is all about exercising your critical thinking skills, and events like this help encourage that.”

This scholarly community event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Dawn Jordan at or 806-651-2435.



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