Welcoming Back Pizza and Politics

By Alaina Beyers

Economic prestige discussion

Eastern students participating in the last Pizza and Politics night.

November 1st marked the kick off of the Political Science department’s first Pizza and Politics event of the fall 2017 semester! The Political Science department, in conjunction with Eastern’s Pre Law Society, hosted an open discussion on the effects a country’s level of prestigious status has on its ability to interact politically and economically with the international community. Dr. Martín Mendoza-Botelho, Dr. Chris Vasillopulos and Dr. Patrick Vitale, each from different niches of the Department, lent their expertise as framers of the discussion by setting up individual arguments based on the three questions below to an audience of more than 30 students.

1. How do you define economic prestige from your discipline/theoretical perspective and how it relates to political power?

2. Would you say that there is a loss of economic prestige in the U.S. and in the Western World in general? If so, what are the immediate and long term effects?

3. In a globalized world (and economies), can governments still use economic prestige as a nationalist tool?

From the various responses that each of the professors gave, the students followed up by breaking into groups and conversing amongst themselves, picking out assumptions made by each professor, and deciding which of the arguments from their perspectives contained the strongest and weakest points. Members of the Pre Law Society Bianca Little, Kyle Gray, Alaina Beyers, and Taylor Moore lead the discussions in these small groups, and then reported out to the collective on the conclusions of each discussion.

Each of the professors were game to field any questions or comments sent their way from eager Eastern students, and the atmosphere of engaged excitement was tangible! Thank you to all the professors involved, the Pre Law Society, and the student audience. We hope to see even more Eastern students at the next Pizza at Politics!

For anyone interested in more information please contact the President of the Pre Law Society, Megan E. Hull at prelawsociety@my.easternct.edu.

Polisci Student Megan Hull joins Connecticut State Universities’ March on Hartford

By Joshua Newhall

Governor Malloy’s recent round of budget cuts clearly indicate that the financial crisis in Connecticut is far from finished. Even though the governor vetoed the state’s prior budget the threat of budgetary restrictions still looms over the heads of many state-run organizations.

This round of budget cuts hit the Connecticut State University system particularly hard, delivering affects that both students and faculty at the universities felt. In order to meet reductions in the budget, faculty members agreed to take three furlough days, or uncompensated days off, which has negatively affected both them and their students who have subsequently lost class time. Faculty members of the schools also received a three percent salary decrease and lessened benefits. Lastly, it is likely that student tuition, housing and meal plan fees will rise because of these proposed budget changes, along with reductions to financial aid.

From left to right, State Representative Susan Johnson, ECSU Professor David Stoloff, ECSU Political Science Senior and President of the Pre-Law Society Megan Hull, and State Senator Mae Flexer.

From left to right, State Representative Susan Johnson, ECSU Professor David Stoloff, State Senator Mae Flexer, and ECSU Political Science Senior and President of the Pre-Law Society Megan Hull.

As these changes to the state’s budget were clearly bound to impact the quality of education received at state run campuses around Connecticut, the CSU community decided to take action and express their concerns at the epicenter of these reforms, Hartford. On September 27th a plethora of professors, faculty and students from all of the State’s colleges protested at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

At this rally both students and faculty displayed their discontent for what they deemed a misappropriation of states funding away from public universities. All of the Connecticut State Universities and UConn had representatives present at the rally, including Eastern’s own Elena Tapia, David Stoloff and Theresa Bouley. Along with the presence of these Eastern professors, there were also Eastern students that took the time to voice their concern at this event. Among them, Megan Hull, senior of Eastern’s Political Science department and president of the Pre-Law Society. At the rally, Megan was able to address the press and fellow rally attendees about her personal quarrels with these new restrictive budget cuts. She gave her own story, one that can resonate with the majority of the student body at Eastern and the other state universities of Connecticut. Megan, along with her full-time student status at Eastern, also has worked full-time in order to support her education for most of her life. While she already had concerns about the debt she acquired from receiving her undergrad, Megan now faces the risk that attendance to her dream law school at UConn could be threatened by budget reforms such as this one. In her closing plea, she directly addressed the state’s lawmakers “…from both parties, to do what you were elected to do, and represent the people of Connecticut’s interests and come to a bipartisan agreement on a fair, equitable and fiscally responsible budget.”

While the future of the Connecticut State Universities’ budget is unclear, the September 27th rally certainly made one thing clear, that the body of students and faculty that were affected by this budget change will not sit by idly without vocalizing their concerns. As the state’s representatives continue the process of organizing the budget it is evident that they must reconsider the value they place in their public education, since there appears to be a clear disconnect between how the attendees of this rally and their representatives feel about how to meet these budget constraints. No matter what the outcome of the next budget proposal is, it is clear that the faculty and students of the Connecticut State Universities will stand united in order to protect their community and their education system.

Women March in Venezuela

By Valerie Bak

Just one day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States women around the world mobilized in opposition to his campaign’s divisive rhetoric and marched in cities all across the globe. It is estimated that over 3,000,000 people marched in the United States, scrawling over 600 cities and towns.  This impressive organization started from a Facebook post and turned into a worldwide event which drew on men and women of all classes and races. The Women’s March is reported to be the largest political protest in American history. For a brief moment in our nation’s history it appeared that the people where dedicated to holding their leadership accountable, but opposition movements have diminished here in the United States as the people appear to be giving Trump the space to prove his presidential platform. But is this the route the American people should be taking? How do we stand up for our nation’s sacred institutions of justice and law? The civil mobilizations occurring now in Venezuela demonstrate how important it is to ask ourselves these questions sooner rather than later.

Women in Venezuela

Lilian Tintori, front fourth from right, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, leads a sit-in blocking the Franciso Fajardo highway after a women march against repression was blocked from reaching the Interior Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Fernando Llano / AP). Source: www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-venezuela-women-march-20170506-story.html

The people of Venezuela continue to march in protest of their country’s president, Nicholas Maduro. Falling oil prices have caused the Venezuelan economy to decline, leading to high inflation rates and unemployment. The country currently suffers from severe shortages of food, medicine, and goods and continue to debilitate the people of Venezuela. As a result of these dynamics, opposition to Maduro’s leadership have emerged. This opposition has grown more supporters over recent weeks as Maduro’s regime continues to use the court system to serve their agenda. Maduro has used The Supreme Court to strike down almost every law adopted in 2016 by the opposition party of the country’s National Assembly. Maduro has also used the court to impose a political ban on opposition leader, Henrique Capriles.  As a result, the people have taken to the streets, calling for an emergency presidential election to remove Maduro from office.


Maduro’s regime continues to use excessive military force to detain protesters and political opponents. The BBC reports that over 36 people have died and hundreds have been injured in protests over the last few weeks. As a result of this violence, the women of Venezuela organized a Women’s march on May 6th to call attention to the impending humanitarian crisis. This march of solidarity was led by opposition MP’s and has been called the “Women’s March against Oppression.” As thousands of women gathered across Venezuela to show their opposition to Maduro, they banged pots and pans to draw attention to their demands of holding fair elections. These marches show that women are not willing to stand on the sidelines any longer, and are willing to take the risks to ensure the security of democracy.

Studying Politics as a Digital Arts Major

By Alyssa Koval

As a student I have always found the topic of politics very interesting, but within the last year and a half with the onslaught of political propaganda brought on by this past election, the most chaotic election to date some U.S politicians have argued, I have been thinking a lot about how both politics and the arts may seem different but have always gone hand in hand. Being a Digital Arts major thrown into the Poli-Sci lions den, so to speak, has been jarring and taken me out of my comfort zone-I’ll admit that- but I think it’s a great experience to be able to listen to my colleagues and their opinions of what’s going on in the political world today, and what we can do as a collective to make the world a more Just, peaceful place to be. I appreciate the ability to have a discussion, and value the voice of people that may or may not have the same opinion as you-as this is the core of how we as a society can make progress in the political world; Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, etc. We all have the freedom to voice our opinions but progress can only be made if leaders truly listen to the words of their counterparts and respect that they also want to make a positive change in the world, and in our country. I see this value being taught in even the politics classes on campus, which is why I thought it was so important to mention here; being that today’s students and young adults will be the leaders of tomorrow. I greatly respect and appreciate the opportunity to dip my toe into the pool of collegiate political discussion as an art major because not only does it give me a unique perspective into the world of politics, but it also makes me think about my own field and how the most famous art in history reflects so much of what politics were present at that point in time. I have a couple of  my personal favorite examples of this:

Liberty Picture

Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix.

Liberty Leading the People is arguably one of the most powerful paintings of the era of Romanticism in France. This painting, by Delacroix, is depicting the Revolution of 1830 where the people of France sought to overthrow the unjust Charles the X. The main figure, a bare-chested woman barreling over a barricade in the streets of Paris with her bayonet in one hand while proudly thrusting the French flag of revolution upwards into the air, her followers in quick pursuit behind her. This woman is not a literal historical figure, but the personification of liberty itself leading the people of France to victory.

Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie the Riveter.

On the opposite side of the same coin, we have Rosie the Riveter- an American icon promoting women’s strength and ability. The classic “We Can Do It!” poster was originally created to promote women and house wives to get back to work in factories and shipyards in order to help the war effort during World War II. Many able bodied working men had gone off to war, leaving little to no help back home so then was created Rosie; an attempt to persuade the women of America that they can hold down the fort while the men were fighting over seas. Rosie has since become the face of the Feminist movement promoting equality for women everywhere.



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


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.


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.

Professors Martín Mendoza-Botelho and Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) interviewed for Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wayne Norman Show

Willi RadioSptember 15 to October 15 has been designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month by Congress. The main purpose of this period is to celebrate the contribution of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean cultures and societies to American society in the U.S. This observation started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period and was enacted into law on August 17.

As part of the celebrations the Wayne Norman show of WILI-AM radio invited Professors Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) and Martín Mendoza-Botelho to comment on the importance of this celebration. The interview also includes comments on the current presidential race and the intention of some of the candidates to build a wall to prevent South-North migration to the U.S. Both guests agreed on the lack of viability or practically of this measure and the risks that this type of inflamed rhetoric brings to American democracy. You can access the interview at the Wayne Norman Show Webpage (click here).

Polisci student and actress Lucy Shea performs in an upcoming play based on poet Eve Merriam’s work

Pic Lucy Shea

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

Growing up female in AmericaTickets: Free for Eastern students; $5 for students other than Eastern, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, and alumni; $15 for the general public.