By Mark Marcy
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.
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!
By Philip Hoeps
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.
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!
By Alaina Torromeo
On March 30, 2016 Polisci student Alexandra Cross received the Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award at an Awards Ceremony held in the Student Center Theater. Alex received the award for her hard work and dedication with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered + community (LGBT+) on campus. Alex Safe Zone Trained faculty and staff, helped run the Pride Alliance Organization, worked with the American Association of University Professors against an unfair contract suggested by the Board of Regents in Connecticut, and most importantly, helped create the new Pride Center that will open this summer.
When asked about how she felt to receive the award Alex stated, “I have never felt so appreciated on campus before. Much of the work that I have done was behind the scenes and without too much recognition.” In regards to how this award will influence her future Alex said, “It will stand as a very real reminder that the work I do, and that the work everyone does in the name of equity, is worthwhile and important.”
Congratulations Alex, keep up the good work!
By Adam Michael Murphy
ECSU College Democrats President
Election season is upon on! Eastern College Democrats held two voter registration drives in the past few weeks encouraging people to vote in the primary on April 26th. A total of over 90 voter registration forms were filled out and collected throughout the weeks! The registration drives received great feedback from the community and it was wonderful to see so many people want to become engaged in this election. This election is more important than ever for students and other members of Eastern’s campus to get involved and learn about the candidates, who they want to vote for in the general election. In recent elections, the primary here in CT never received this much fervor and anticipation because our primary is later in the process, but this year the primary is receiving a lot of enthusiasm.
These events went along with the mission of the club to promote civic engagement and raise awareness of political issues on Eastern’s campus. A few other events sponsored by College Democrats this year were Dominoes for Democracy, and hearing from local elected officials about issues facing our state. College Democrats even collaborated with the Conservative and Libertarian club this past semester to hold a Bipartisan Bake sale where we simultaneously help a straw poll for students to pick a candidate they would like to support. Similar events can be expected to be seen next semester as the general election for president get closer in an attempt to raise the political awareness students have for important issues.
Polisci student Lucy Shea will be part of the cast of the upcoming play “Out of Our Father’s House”, directed by Caitlin McDonough, which is part of the student director showcase POWER PLAYS!
Based on Eve Merriam’s Growing Up Female in America, this moving play is drawn from the diaries, journals and letters of women: founder of the Women’s Suffrage Movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton, astronomer Maria Mitchell, labor organizer Mary Jones, minister and doctor Anna Howard Shaw, and Eliza Southgate. They are seen as they grow up, marry, bear children and face being ostracized for wanting careers.
April 14 – 18, 2016
Thursday-Monday at 7:30pm
in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Studio Theater
At the end of the 2015 Fall semester, several faculty, staff and students rose to the “Krassas Challenge” to run some laps as part of Eastern’s annual poverty awareness marathon. Professor Charlie Chatterton runs the marathon in 1.2 mile laps around campus and those of us lesser athletes run as much as we can. Starting at 7 a.m., I was joined by senior Sabreena Croteau and sophomore Alexander Eitland. A little bit later in the morning, sophomore Emily Becher joined the group. Only Sabreena lapped me and she was gracious enough not to mock me, however several dedicated long distance runners lapped me multiple times! By 8:15, as I was leaving the run to get ready for class at 9, Professor Mendoza-Botelho arrived to “pick up the torch” for the political science program. It was a beautiful morning for a run! Also, senior Sarah Howard, who was unable to run, dropped off a donation of canned goods to support the cause as did department secretary Brenda Schiavetti who brought an awesome 40 cans to go to the food pantry! If I have missed anyone who participated today, my apologies. Thanks to everyone who did participate and please remember the point of today’s event. As we move through our lives, we should stop to remember that approximately 15% of the U.S. population, over 46 million people, lives below the poverty line. Poverty affects children in the U.S. the most. 21% of children in the United States live below the poverty line. Have you thought about the impact that poverty has on people from inadequate housing, food insecurity, inadequate health care and inadequate transportation (just to name a few)? Aside from moral consideration, as political scientists poverty is an important subject to consider as poverty relief drives a fair amount of government policy and political rhetoric in this country and around the world.