Spring 2014 F.E.E. Topic Pool

Monday Classes


1.     Tattoo Removal

Jeffrey Chapman, a suspect awaiting trial for a murder committed in Kansas, has petitioned the court to allow him to remove or alter his neck tattoo before the trial begins. Chapman’s lawyer argues that the tattoo, which spells out “murder” in reverse, might unfairly turn the jury against his client. Should the court allow Mr. Chapman to remove or alter his tattoo to assure him a fair trial?

2.     Bakersfield Panhandling Ordinance

The Bakersfield City Council recently approved an ordinance making it a crime for people to solicit donations near banks and ATMs and for these solicitors to follow a person or make repeated requests. Area business owners say panhandlers drive away customers by making them feel unsafe, but others claim that panhandling ordinances are not effective and cause greater problems for the homeless, who often have no other means of support. Does the new panhandling ordinance seem like a reasonable way to deal with the situation?

3.     Paying Student-Athletes

For decades now, a number of groups and individuals have suggested that college student-athletes should receive a salary for participating in their sports. They say these athletes generate millions of dollars of income for the schools they play for, yet they are often some of the most financially-disadvantaged students on campus. Others argue that paying student-athletes will cause them to take the real purpose of college – education and intellectual enlightenment – much less seriously. Should college student athletes be paid for their participation?

4.     Minimum Wage Hike

President Obama recently called on Congress to raise the minimum wage above ten dollars an hour by 2016, citing recent studies that show that income inequality in America has become far worse in recent years and that, as a result, many minimum wage earners cannot survive without help from government-funded public assistance programs. Opponents of the increase say that any hike in the minimum wage will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Should Congress increase the minimum wage?