Visit of Polisci Eastern alumna and JD candidate Raagan Mumley

Polisci student Megan Hull (left) with JD candidate and Eastern alumna Raagan Mumley (right).

By Megan Hull (Political Science and Pre-law Minor)

This week I had the great opportunity to meet Eastern Alumna and JD Candidate at Vermont Law School, Raagan Mumley. Over breakfast at Not Only Juice, in Willimantic, we deliberated such things as the successful structure of a CV, in preparation for law school, the LSAT as well as how her political science background given to her by Eastern Connecticut State University gave her the skills she would need to conquer her law degree. Her advice and experience is greatly appreciated for the continuation of pre-law studies at Eastern.

** Students interested in a law degree or legal studies can contact Megan Hull at hullme@my.easternct.edu for potential student related activities.

On Presidential Powers

By Mark Marcy

Prof Hayes Pizza Politics

UConn Professor Thomas Hayes with ECSU students Emily Margolis, Nicole Coughlin and Jared Latour

It was nice to see a full attendance at Pizza and Politics the other night for the discussion with keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Hayes. The discussion centered around the historical rising power of the presidency, the use of executive powers to circumvent the partisan divided congress, and what we can do as citizens to check the rise of authoritarianism.

To open the discussion, Dr. Hayes, outlined the historical gains in power of the presidency and how congress has allowed the president obtain these additional powers.  The power of the purse lies in the hands of the House, but presidents often present a proposed budget for the House to then push through congress.  While congress is the legislative branch, many legislative issues originate in the executive.  And, as the de facto leader of the party, the party coalesces around the president to further the presidential agenda.

Prof Hayes Pizza Politics 2

The Pizza and Politics crowd

As the evening wore on, it became clear that Dr. Hayes was not enamored with this current administration, questioned the capabilities of President Trump, and implied that the current administration is led by Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, advisors to the president.  While this is a harsh view of the administration, I must agree that this seems to be the case.  A few examples of instances where an administration that rises from outside government was uninformed about the nuances in the working of government (such as, the first Muslim nation ban), as well as a few examples of a president that didn’t know the basic’s like; the nuclear triad (among others).  Dr. Hayes suggested that the most powerful way, we as citizens, can voice our concerns about this rising authoritarianism, is to VOTE (as well as peacefully protest).

The audience had well thought out informed questions indicative of a group of polisci majors having a chat session.  It was awesome!

Eastern Students participate in CPAC 2017

By James Dignoti

In late February the Eastern Conservative/ Libertarian Club attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor Maryland

Professor Chris Vasilopolus surrounded by the Eastern participants at CPAC

Professor Chris Vasilopolus surrounded by the Eastern participants at CPAC (the author third from left).

just outside of Washington DC.  Having also attended the conference last year there are some similarities and differences between the two conferences for several different reasons. The highlight of this trip by far was being able to see President Trump and Vice President Pence speak.  We also got to see several other good conservative speakers and had the chance to meet some of the speakers.

As far as differences between last year’s conference and the conference this year was that this year felt more like a victory rally for conservatives while last year there were several Republican Presidential Candidates still competing for the nomination, this year, there was much more unity within the party having won.

The Trump speech was by far the highlight of the Conference.  He came out to a strong ovation by the crowd.  The speech however, felt more like a rally than a speech from the President.  President Trump was very engaged with the crowd and in his speech highlighted what he is going to do in his Presidency.  President Trump addressed several policy areas including immigration and the Middle East.  President Trump also addressed the media and how the media has treated him.

Eastern students with Senator Ted Cruz

Eastern students with Senator Ted Cruz

Besides the speeches by both Trump and Pence, there were also several other great speakers worth noting.  One really good panel discussion was a discussion of the Constitution with Senator Ted Cruz and Radio Host Mark Levin.  They discussed the importance of protecting the Constitution.  There was also a very good discussion about Women and Politics with Trump’s Campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway and Mercedes Schlapp.  Furthermore, there were several other panel discussions and speeches concerning several different issues including, Abortion, Defense and The Second Amendment.

The conference also had an anti-establishment feel and a new Republican feel to it. There were very few establishment speakers at the conference this year and the Majority of the Speakers supported Trump during the General Election.  This overall was a great week and our club is fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this conference every year.  We are also grateful to our Advisor, Professor Vasillopulos for attending this conference with us every year.  It is very beneficial to our Political Education and we are able to meet many amazing people at this conference every year.

Donald Trump

View of President Trump at CPAC 2017

Professors Vasillopulos and Mendoza-Botelho discuss War and Peace at UConn

By Philip Hoeps

UConn CLIR 1

Professors Vasillopulos and Mendoza-Botelho with their hosts Cathy Cementina and Steve Kenton

Over the past two weeks two of our Professors Martín Mendoza-Botelho and Chris Vasillopulos, held talks on the topics of peace and war, respectively, at UConn, for the Center for Learning in Retirement (CLIR). These talks were derived from their courses in Fall 2016, Theories of War and the Politics of Peace.

Professor Vasillopulos’ session focused on the implications of war. Are the costs of war, both monetary and humanitarian, worth any potential accomplishments? He approached this question by analyzing the gains and tolls of both World Wars, as well as other modern conflicts. He also examined the aspects of human nature that can lead us to enter into wars or continue wars that had effectively already been decided.

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Professor Mendoza-Botelho with participants Blanche Boucher (Secretary of CLIR), Joan Buck and Ann Kouatly.

Professor Mendoza-Botelho’s session began with a discussion of the systematic study of peace, in what is a relatively new field of study which came about largely to analyze the tentative peace that was maintained throughout the cold war in response to nuclear threat. The notion of peace can be largely narrowed down to two main categories, positive (harmonious) peace, in which there is a high level of well-being and social justice; and negative peace which is merely the absence of war. In this regard, Professor Mendoza-Botelho pointed out the well-known fact that the US has been at war for 222 of its 239 years since independence, despite this, the overwhelming majority of Nobel Peace Prize recipients were Americans (around one-fourth), an obvious disparity.

We wanted to thank CLIR event coordinators Steve Kenton and Cathy Cementina for inviting our Professors to speak at UConn, and if you have any questions, feel free to stop by during their office hours, and keep an eye out for these courses when they run again!

A Future for Equality

By Courtney Regan

As kids, we’re programmed to view gender as a concept that distinguishes femininity from masculinity based on social and cultural characteristics, rather than biological differences. We’ve all heard of common stereotypes regarding both genders: Women are associated with the color pink, they are nurturing, and they’re more likely to gossip. Men are associated with the color blue, and they’re braver, stronger, and better at sports. Among stereotypes regarding gender, is the common myth that men perform more efficiently in positions of office or legislative seats.

Courtney Regan

Polisci Student Courtney Regan

In history, men have been viewed as superior role models. According to the chart titled “Most of the World’s Nations Have Never Had a Female Leader,” by the Pew Research Center, between the 50 year gap (1964-2014), only sixty-three of one hundred and forty-two nations have had a female head of government or state. In fact, in two-thirds of these nations, a woman was in power for less than four years. Women make up the majority of graduates almost everywhere in the developed world, but ironically, take up a smaller percentage of the workforce the further up the corporate ladder they go.

With assumptions creating such a division between men and women, certain countries have found it necessary to implement gender quotas laws, which require that a certain proportion of candidates for office or legislative seats be reserved for women. Gender quota laws have been implemented in developed countries, which have modern societies. Modernization goes hand in hand with attitudes regarding gender, giving more thought to freedom and gender-equality. The law is not present in developing or under-developed nations, where most societies continue to hold traditional values of gender roles, which assume that a man works and a woman stays home to care for her children.

Of course, controversy facing the law exists. The result can mean blocking off potential employees who are more qualified, just to fit the required percentage of gender quota within the workplace. For example, if there are ten qualified men, and eight semi-qualified women applying to work together, and only twelve people can be hired, the deserving men will not each be given the job, and vise versa. People should be judged on their qualifications, rather than their gender. My hope for the result of gender quota laws is for humans to realize that men and women are equally capable of performing efficiently in positions of office, legislative seats, and elsewhere, in any work place. The ultimate dream is for one day, to have equal political, social, and economic equality among all people in developed, developing, and under-developed countries. If this were to come true, gender quota laws would not necessarily need to exist. We are humans, our worth should not be determined by our gender.

 

 

Polisci student Sabina Mamedova share her life experiences as part of the Immigrant Project at the Democracy at Work series at ECSU

By Sabina Mamedova

Sabina2

The Performance at the Immigrant Project

The Democracy at Work series at ECSU included political views, artistic talents and information before the presidential election. There were a variety of events such as drawing cartoons about candidates, lectures and debates, and even students dressed in candidate costumes. As a political refugee it was not hard for me to share my story for the Immigrant Project because of my experiences in Russia and being deported to the United States without speaking any English. My advantage in a major project like this was that I am a theater major while also studying politics. Before the event I already had a memoir, which was turned into a script and play informally called “The Sabina Project”. The play involved Syrian refugees’ stories and crises, which brings awareness about them and asks what are we doing to stop these crises and how are we helping. I was deported twice and am the grandchild of refugee survivors, their stories started during World War II when Stalin uprooted them from their land. My great-grandparents did not know any country but Georgia, however, they were exiled just because they practiced a different religion and belonged to a different ethnic group than that of the majority of people living in Georgia.

The narrative of the Sabina Project starts on November 14, 1944, when Stalin exiled the Ahiskan or Meskhetian Turks from Georgia due to ethnic cleansing and religious persecution, under the excuse that my people were collaborating with the Nazis. My people were exiled into five different countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Siberia and Turkey. The cold journey continued for several weeks causing people to die in freezing temperatures. My great-grandparents died as soon as they arrived in Uzbekistan where I was born. Most healthy men were sent to serve the Soviet army and, when some returned, they could not find their exiled families. Some families were not reunited until 1956, more precisely after Stalin’s death. In 1989, my people were deported from Uzbekistan to Russia due to ethnic cleansing. In 2005, my people were deported again due to ethnic cleansing and religious discrimination in Russia to the United States. So the play starts with an introduction of my journey and expands to a narration of the Syrian refugee crisis. It explains how the Syrian civil war started from small riots and soon became a great catastrophe.

Sabina1

Polisci student Sabina Mamedova sharing her life story as a political refugee.

In the play, five different narrators read the historical parts of my memoir and blend with the story of journalists’ experiences about the Syrian civil war and the refugees leaving the country while hoping to survive. Through the play, dancers interpret the ongoing narration and their movements relate to my story and to that of many Syrians. The group had the guidance of Professor David Pellegrini of the Department of Performing Arts. There is also music that creates an appropriate atmosphere while the narrators and performers are on stage. Part of the play also includes videos of me being interviewed on sensitive subjects about my life in Russia. Overall, the play blends art and my personal history as a refugee.

Teaching in France: The Value of International Experiences

By Sabreena Croteau (Class of 2015)

Over the summer, I was excited to find out that I had been accepted to the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) in the Academie de Lille, which is the education district of France’s northernmost province, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. As I had always intended to take a gap year before graduate school, I was very excited for this opportunity to live in another country, learn the language, and get to know the community around me. I have not been placed in Lille, the city center of the north, but rather, in a really small town, Beuvry, which is about forty minutes outside the city by train. It is situated next to Bethune, which is a slightly larger town, as far as the north is concerned. This area of the north shares many characteristics with the post-industrial old mill towns of New England, including Willimantic. The area’s prime industry used to be mining. Today, all the mines have closed, but there is little alternative economic interest in the cloudy north and these small town struggle to have enough jobs and bring in various businesses. However, unlike New England, the immigrant populations are rather small, though they most certainly are growing.

            I have found the people in the area to be kinder and friendlier than my experiences when I studied in Paris, and of course, far far better than all of the American stereotypes about the French. Though, of course, there are some perceptions that are not entirely off. Baguettes are a daily necessity here, I will have four vacation over my seven months staying here, and I have been handed a glass of wine in the teachers’ lounge more than once. I am very grateful with how patient I find most people to be as I stumble through a conversation in French and living in the north has made it more necessary to speak French than when I lived in Paris. Between the teachers and my school and my housemates, I am forced to try and it has already lead to improvement even if my accent is horrific.

Picture Sabreena France

Smiling Sabreena (back left) with international and French colleagues during a friendly dinner.

            It was certainly interesting to be here for the US election. My teachers are extremely informed about American politics and my French high school students often know more than their average American peer. Despite having an extreme right of their own, talking about politics with French friends and teachers usually ends in a conversation that is extremely bias towards the American left. Honestly, I think this is because, having a completely different left to right spectrum… the American right is simply difficult for them to understand. I often find myself trying to explain the history and characteristics of the United States that has resulted in the spectrum that we have. I think that they are particularly curious given Brexit and the rise of conservatism in their own country. In many ways, I think I have learned a great deal about American politics by getting to look at through the eyes of foreigners and by having to try to explain our system to them.

            This is also true of the other language assistants that live in Bethune. Though there are other Americans, I am the only one from not just New England, but also from the east coast. Despite always knowing that the US is very different depending on the region, it is interesting to see those differences at play. It has definitely made me want to experience more of my own country and has also made me appreciate some of my experiences that are distinctly New England. However, there are also English language assistants from Canada, Britain and Australia, as well as Spanish language assistants from Latin American countries, the two I see the most are Mexican and Venezuelan. Besides learning French culture and French experiences, I also get the experiences of perspectives of those from other countries as well. When all of the assistants and some of our French housemates get together for dinner… or meet at the bar… it often becomes a trilingual event.

            Out of all the assistants I know, I am the only person who studied political science at university. Most are studying languages, a few languages and history. Some even had jobs as language teachers where they come from. Teaching English to French teenagers does not necessarily relate directly to my political science career goals. I get asked all the time why I wanted to do this. However, I think that the experience as a whole is invaluable to my overall goals. Besides learning another language, I also have the opportunity to build friendships and have conversations that teach me new things, not only about other countries, but also about my own. I think it is an important part of studying political science to be exposed to all sorts of other perspectives and allow them to challenge your own.

The Economic Value of a Political Science Major

By Joshua Newhall

JoshEvery year Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce releases a comprehensive analysis of the economic benefits of the 137 most typical college majors, titled “The Economic Value of College Majors.” The 2015 report shows that a major in political science can lead to a highly prospective career. While social sciences, as a major subgroup, comprises a mere 6.9% of all college degrees, this report reveals that political science and government studies are actually the 15th most prevalent major course of study, making up nearly two percent of all college degrees being earnt.

After earning their degree, political science majors fair very well when beginning their careers, earning a median income of $64,000 yearly at entry level jobs. This made political science tie with chemistry, geosciences and consumer services as the 50th most profitable major at an entry level position. This ranking makes political science one of the more profitable college majors to receive a bachelor’s degree in compared to all 137 majors featured in this study. Entry level income in this field is already strong, but the prospect of a long term career in a social science has a 44% wage growth rate, making political science one of the best social sciences for long term success. Along with this, political science was ranked as the 12th best degree to receive a graduate degree in, with yearly earnings increasing by 50% on average after graduate school. This explains why just under half of political science majors go on to graduate school, since this extra education can help lead to a flourishing career.

Median Income of Social Science Graduates

Chart Josh

Information from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce’s “The Economic Value of College Majors.”

The graph above shows the national median incomes for entry level jobs in the top fields of social sciences. This graph makes it clear that economics and political science have the largest economic returns amongst the social sciences, especially when considering how valuable graduate degrees in these fields are.

Aside from the clear economic benefits of a political science major that were presented in this year’s report from Georgetown University, there are also many pros to this field of study that are not quantifiable. A degree in a social science appeals to an individual interested in understanding how aggregate human behavior and society works. While a degree in STEM or business may provide a relatively higher wage after graduation it does not provide its workers with the same level of fulfillment that comes from the human interaction and public service that social sciences are founded on. A degree in political science in particular can provide an individual the necessary education to begin a career in numerous fields including government, public administration, law, international relations, business and many more. This means that a political science major is incredibly diverse compared to most majors, which allows its graduates to seek a career that is more meaningful and specialized to their interests.