Zombies have risen from the dead and will invade humanity’s last shelter, the UCen Hub, tonight at 8.

In the zombie debates tonight, professors from seven of UCSB’s academic departments will hold a simulated academic discussion about a fast-spreading zombie outbreak that has already wiped out most of humanity. Each professor will be given a chance to explain to the audience why his or her academic discipline would deserve the sole remaining seat on a raft meant to carry the means to rebuild human civilization. Inspired by the “Life Raft Debate” broadcast on National Public Radio’s This American Life, the event is meant to be symbolic of an increasingly competitive UC and public education system at large.

Despite the humorously macabre theme, participant and art history professor Laurie Monahan said, the debate is designed to emphasize the significance of all majors.

“Given the times we live in, when education is basically being marginalized and minimized, I think it’s important to hear arguments about why any given discipline is really meaningful and important to one’s education,” Monahan said.

Professors will explain what their field could contribute to a new, post-zombie apocalyptic reality and the audience will then vote for the winner, who will proceed to climb into a raft.
Engineering professor Jeff Moehlis said the event is an opportunity for faculty members to shine in the spotlight.

“I’m doing it for fun, really, but also to demonstrate the things that we teach our students are truly valuable for the real and not-so-real worlds,” Moehlis said. “Plus mechanical engineering ideas can be used to come up with some really cool ways to kill zombies.”

According to mathematics professor Daryl Cooper, audience members will come away from the night with “a renewed love for all things mathematical, and maybe a couple of jokes.”
The Zombie Debates are sponsored by the A.S. Program Board. More information, including the list of professors participating in the debates can be found here.

The NPR episode of the “Life Raft Debate” that inspired the Zombie Debates can be accessed online for free here.