CPP Events Timeline
*Darrell Park ’91 Visit to Allegheny and Short Course-9/9/16
Darrell Park ’91, an executive, entrepreneur, and author with more than 20 years of experience in public and private leadership, gave a speech titled The Politics of the Federal Budget at 7:00 p.m. on September 9, 2016 in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center. Park earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Allegheny and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. He spent ten years working for two presidents in the White House Office of Management and Budget, and participated in the balancing of the federal budget. Park then earned his MSM at Stanford University. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in the tech sector and working with start-up projects. He is the author of “Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World’s Toughest Problems” and was the Democratic candidate for the 5th District of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
He led a one-credit short course with Allegheny students that consisted of learning about the federal budget and methods of balancing it. At the end of the course, students were tasked with selecting an aspect of the budget at Allegheny that they thought should be focused on more, and then selecting another area of the budget where funding could come from to support that greater focus.
*Law & Policy BBQ-9/9/16
*Constitution Day Event-9/16/16
In observance of Constitution Day, the Center for Political Participation and the Law & Policy Program sponsored the screening of the new film, “Liberty Under Law: The Robert H. Jackson Story,” which premiered recently on WQLN-TV in Erie. The film was shown at noon Friday, September 16, 2016, in Quigley Auditorium. Jackson was born in nearby Warren Township, Pa., and became a leading lawyer of the New Deal Era, serving as Solicitor General, Attorney General, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the only person to ever hold all three positions. He was also the U.S. Chief of Counsel prosecuting the Nazi leadership at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Through a partnership that Allegheny College has developed with the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y., Allegheny students have access to the Jackson archives–including transcripts, interviews, scholarly research, historical artifacts–and many other resources relating to the central role that Robert H. Jackson and his legacy continue to play in domestic and international policy and law. The film screening highlighted the achievements of Jackson and allowed Allegheny students to become more familiar with this significant figure.
*Presidential Debate Watching Party-9/26/16
On Monday, September 26, 2016, The Center for Political Participation hosted a Presidential Debate Watching Party in Grounds for Change from 8:00-10:00 p.m. There was a large turnout of students who came to enjoy the complimentary coffee provided by the Center for Political Participation. The tab was quickly exhausted as more and more students crowded on the couches, chairs, tables, and floor of Grounds for Change to converse and react to the Debate. The event allowed Allegheny students to interact and exchange ideas and opinions about the flurry of political activity of the 2016 Presidential Election.
*National Voter Registration Day Events-9/27/16
The Andrew Goodman Foundation ambassadors hosted a National Voter Registration drive, tabling from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 27, 2016, in the Gator Quad. There were treats and prizes, a raffle, glow in the dark goodies, face paint, a Bounce House and Polaroid pictures to capture the memories. Everyone was welcome.
*Quigley Town Hall: Debate Debrief with D’Pizza-9/28/16
The Center for Political Participation’s Fellows led their first Quigley Town Hall of the year on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at 12:20 p.m. in Quigley Auditorium. Fellows Heather Bosau and Royse Bachtel led the discussion between Allegheny students and faculty about their reactions and opinions to the first Presidential Debate. During this Quigley Town Hall, Allegheny student shared their opinions on the most important and most noteworthy moments of the debate. Additionally, the conversation touched upon the role of debates in the Presidential campaign cycle and the way that debates can affect, or not affect, public opinion and the eventual outcome of the election. This Town Hall allowed students to discuss their opinions on the outcome of the debate in a lively and constructive way. As always, lunch was provided.
*Campus Debate: Dems, GOP, Libertarians
The Center for Political Participation teamed up with The Campus Newspaper to hold a student debate between the College Democrats, the College Republicans, and the Young Americans for Freedom (Libertarians). Joe Tingley and Alex Weidenhof, members of The Campus staff, facilitated a lively debate between the clubs. The event was standing room only, bringing an impressive amount of Allegheny students to the Quigley Auditorium to watch their friends and classmates debate party platforms in regards to criminal justice reform, national security, and equal rights. The student debate received attention from both The Campus newspaper and the Meadville Tribune. The inaugural Campus Debate was a huge success, allowing students to engage in their own debate during a busy 2016 Presidential Election cycle.
*Vice Presidential Debate Watching Party-10/4/16
The Center for Political Participation hosted a Vice Presidential Debate Watching Party in Grounds for Change on October 4, 2016 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. Those who attended enjoyed complimentary coffee and conversation.
*Presidential Debate Watching Party-10/19/16
The Center for Political Participation hosted another Presidential Debate Watching Party in Grounds for Change on October 19, 2016 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. Those who attended enjoyed complimentary coffee and conversation.
*SUNY-Albany Rockefeller School Visitor-10/21/16
On Friday, October 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m, the Law and Policy Program hosted Jacklyn Napoleon, Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions for the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at SUNY-Albany.
This visit was especially geared towards those students who are interested in studying domestic or international policy, or considering a career in public service or non-profit management. Ms. Napoleon brought quite a bit of information regarding SUNY-Albany’s Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and Masters or Public Policy (MPP) programs.
*Candidate Forum PA 6th State Legislative District-11/1/16
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Center for Political Participation hosted a community forum for the candidates running for Pennsylvania’s 6th Legislative District seat in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center. Members of the Meadville Community, as well as college students attended in order to hear the three candidates- Republican incumbent Brad Roae, Democrat Peter Zimmer, and Republican write-in Lester Lenhart, share their positions on three themes: jobs, education, and public health.
Professor Brian Harward and Keith Gushard of the Meadville Tribune moderated the event, asking all three candidates to share their thoughts on the specific issue, then provide time for responses. Fellows for the Center for Political Participation provided members of the audience with slips of paper in which they could address questions to Brad Roae, Peter Zimmer, and Lester Lenhart during a brief town hall- style session at the end of the forum. The event was covered by Armstrong Cable and by the Meadville local radio station, Cool 101.7.
Photos by Alex Weidenhof with The Campus Newspaper
Link to the video:
*Life in the News Silo: What Algorithms Do to How We Know the World-11/2/16
The Center for Political Participation and Allegheny’s Journalism in the Public Interest Program hosted Quigley Town Hall on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, during lunch time titled What Algorithms Do to How We Know the World. The discussion was led by Computer Science Department Chair, Professor Greg Kapfhammer, and Allegheny College students Shu Yi Tang and Jonathan Goodman, both web managers for The Campus.
According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of adults in the United States now get news through social media. Personalized “news feeds” are a major tributary to this digital river of information, and what anyone’s news feed selects is determined by an algorithm, the same sort of computer coding that tells Amazon.com users that “customers who bought this item” (say the Homdox Automatic Pet Feeder) “also bought these items” (the PetSafe ScoopFree Self Cleaning Litter Box, for instance). Is this how we should be getting our news? What might it mean that people’s “clicking profile,” as an expression of personal preferences, should largely dictate the news sources and subjects to which they are exposed? And what really goes into these dictators of knowledge, the algorithms, in the first place? These were all topics discussed during the town hall. As always, lunch was provided. (This information was taken from MyAllegheny).
*Election Day Activities-11/8/16
From 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, The Center for Political Participation (CPP) Fellows and Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassadors offered rides to the polls at Brooks Walk. A bus transported the students back and forth between the college and polling sites. Many, many students took part in this and were grateful for the opportunity to have the transportation to get to vote. That evening, the CPP hosted an election night returns party. There was election night trivia , an electoral college map contest, lots of food and cake. Raffles for gift cards were a big hit! The CPP even had Magic Steve create balloons for the crowd. The party was attended by well over 250 people and was a huge success.
*Quigley Town Hall: Refugees: How they Affect the Countries that Welcome Them-02/02/17
On Monday, February 20, 2017 Professor Brian Miller and Tyler Allen ‘18 held a Quigley Town Hall discussing the effects of refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Germany. Discussion was based around the experiences and research that both had done. Tyler Allen had spend the Fall of 2016 in Amman, Jordan and taught refugees and Professor Miller had worked and done research in both Turkey and Germany. After about 30 minutes, the floor was open to question which revolved around the current situation in Jordan, Europe and the United States.
*CPP Fellows 2016-2017
CPP and Political Science Events 2015-2016
Political Science Trip to Mexico City
By Heather Bosau
Over the winter break between the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters, Professor Mattiace of the Political Science Department, and International Studies student Paul Cancilla (’16) traveled to Mexico City for a week to work on research both for their student/faculty collaboration project as well as their own research endeavors.
In discussing their initial involvement in the project that resulted in their trip, Paul mentioned that he had traveled to Mexico previously for a semester abroad, and had also taken Professor Mattiace’s junior seminar. From these experiences, and in looking towards his senior comp, Paul expressed an interest in gated communities in Mexico and what they represent with regard to democracy in society. Though their collaboration is focused on mapping out the megalopolis and examining how citizens respond to insecurity in poor neighborhoods, the research opportunity to study and research in Mexico City provided both Professor Mattiace and Paul to study communities through the lens of their myriad interests.
Their trip consisted of walking tours, informal interviews with street vendors outside the richer part of Sante Fe, talking with people who worked at a Jesuit community center in the poorer neighborhood and an interview with a high ranking Mexican city official who was the founding director of a community program for community development. It was this program that had provided funds for projects they saw while on their trip. The two also visited various museums, including a museum dedicated to political memory and political tolerance. Most of their visit, both the structured moments such as the tours, and the moments in which they were able to research their own projects, became an opportunity to explore Mexico City in depth.
Following their trip, Professor Mattiace and Paul have turned their attentions to their collaboration, for which Paul is creating a story map about transportation, specifically a proposed light rail that is facing opposition from the older parts of Mexico city, for fear that such an instillation will encroach on residential areas. From his study of this proposal, Paul discussed the socioeconomic conflicts that are arising with regard to this proposal, as well as the geographical. Professor Mattiace suggested that this research could be the foundation for presentations at International Studies conferences as well as for her classes, to which she has invited Paul to speak. Paul is also beginning to focus on transforming this experience into work for his senior comp.
Both Professor Mattiace and Paul spoke highly of this experience as an integral part of their research experience. Paul talked of the student perspective with regard to student/faculty collaboration and how the student experience “can be enhanced by the support of the school and the professor.” Professor Mattiace, too, spoke of the benefits of such a program as a necessary compliment to theoretical study, though she warned that such an experience could only be fully realized if the student is already well read with regard to the place they are visiting, or else the experience might not be as beneficial.
Thank you to both Professor Mattiace and Paul for being willing to speak about their experiences!
Quigley Town Hall – “Populism: Discussing Trump and Sanders”
By Heather Bosau
On September 10, 2015, the Allegheny College Center for Political Participation hosted its first Quigley Town Hall of the semester, focusing on the concept of populism, and how it has manifested in the campaigns and rhetoric of Trump and Sanders as the 2016 presidential race begins.
Professor Jon Wiebel of the Communication Arts department, introduced by CPP fellow Haley Riley (2016), facilitated the event by opening with a short explanation of populism, which he defines as “candidates make a claim to the people by dividing the populace into ‘people’ and the ‘Other.’” He then examined this concept, not just through the claims that were being made by specific candidates, namely Trump and Sanders, but also the performance and stylistic choices made by populist rhetoric in general.
During the discussion part of the event, students focused primarily on how and why the campaign strategies of candidates (particularly Trump) mattered so early on in the election season. There was a discussion on why “what we’re told is important” and how the population is “fed up with establishment politics,” suggesting that what is said now to change the political zeitgeist could have far reaching implications in the upcoming election.
Another part of the conversation centered around the “power of media and communication” and how the media is defining the political conversation even now. One student expressed a concern regarding populism that, saying that, at times, “populist politics run the risk of being used to cover up a not well rounded candidate.”
The conversation ended with the assertion that the populist appeal is one that asserts a “sense of authenticity.”
Constitution Day Event – “The Constitutional Limitations on the Police Use of Deadly Force”
By Heather Bosau
On Thursday, September 17, 2015, the Allegheny College Center for Political Participation hosted its annual Constitution Day Event. This year’s speaker was attorney Michael Piotrowski of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police. His address covered police use of deadly force and its limitations through the lens of the Constitution.
Mr. Piotrowski began his evening at Allegheny with an interview with Angela Mauroni from The Campus followed by a dinner with representatives from the CPP, the pre-law club and faculty. He spoke with students about his law school experience as well as his professional background, leading up to and including his current position with the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.
Following dinner, the group moved to the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center for Mr. Piotrowski’s address. He was introduced to the group by CPP Fellow Abigail Lombard (2016). He explained that his job is that of a labor attorney, as he represents individual officers when they are facing repercussions for an action they took while on the job. He said, “When we make the news…it is almost always because we have put [a police officer] back to work after they have done something that has been portrayed as something inherently awful.” He explained, however, that much of his work, is much less drastic/publicized, such as, in Ohio, their collective bargaining power.
After the introduction to his work, Mr. Piotrowski shifted his attention to the constitutional questions of his address, saying, “The US Constitution doesn’t say anything about when police can shoot you…or beat you.” Instead, he suggested, “What matters is the Supreme Court interpretation of the amendments,” especially the 4th Amendment and the 14th. It was Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor that are the controlling Supreme Court decisions on this issue. The former decided that deadly force can only be used if the officer has articulable concern that the individual was a threat, while the latter established a ‘subjective and reasonable test,’ suggesting the standard of scrutiny by which the Court can decide a case in favor of the police is low (meaning likely favorable to the police officer), and using the question, “Did the officer have reason to believe he had cause to use deadly force?” as the deciding question.
Moving from the legal decisions regarding police use of deadly force, Mr. Piotrowski then began discussion police officer training, and ho the decision to use deadly force is made. He presented charts that are teaching tools used in police academies that show the level of accepted force for each subsequent an escalating suspect makes. As Mr. Piotrowski explained, however, these rules are far from steadfast, and a rule of thumb for most police forces is that whatever level of adversity exhibited by the suspect, police can take their comparable response plus one level.
The final aspect of Mr. Piotrowski’s address, prior to the question and answer portion, focused on how police training and experience has led to an environment in which deadly force has become prevalent. On the subject, he said, “They’re taught that every traffic stop could be their last…that everyone is a threat.”
During this discussion of a culture of fear that initiates a response of deadly force, Mr. Piotrowski also touched upon funding and training issues that perpetuate this culture. His opinion, and not one that is representative of the Ohio Fraternal Order of POlice is that, “the taser should be considered a deadly weapon,” but also that, because it causes fewer deaths, it should be provided with much greater frequency than it is, because of budgeting reasons. He also talked about the use of body cams, claiming that he is “personally agnostic and professionally in favor” of them as a mechanism for documenting any issues that might arise.
GFC Event – “The Refugee Crisis in Europe”
By Heather Bosau
On Monday, September 21, 2015, the Center for Political Participation hosted an event centered around the current Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Professor Gehring of the Political Science department and Professor Mirza of the Religious Studies department chaired the event, looking at the crisis from two perspectives.
Professor Gehring opened the event with a macro-level look at European politics, focusing specifically on Germany’s response at first, before broadening the discussion to encompass European Union policy and other countries that are currently at work dealing with the crisis. She mentioned the shift in France’s position, from initially not being willing to take refugees, to beginning to open their borders after images of Aylan Kurdi’s body surfacing in Turkey began to circulate through the media.
Professor Mirza then began speaking of personal encounters he has had with Syrian refugees, both in the United States and abroad, and including a former Allegheny student. He talked about the socio-economic position of most of the refugees, suggesting that a majority of them were Syrian professionals who were in a position to sell their belongings and attempt to move out of the country.
The event concluded with a question and answer session, featuring both students and faculty, and ranging from deeper discussion of the European response, to the response of countries in the Middle East, and what measures can be taken to address the immediate issue of the refugee crisis as well as the broader issue of the Syrian Civil War that has lead to such widespread displacement.
Thank you to Professor Gehring and Professor Mirza and to all the students and faculty in attendance!
CPP Hosts Town Hall About Effective Representation in Congress
By Heather Bosau
On October 22, 2015, the CPP hosted a Town Hall in Arter Little Theater, entitled, “Are We Getting the Representation We Deserve?: Congressional Dysfunction, Partisan Hostility, and What’s Missing from American Politics.” The general focus of this town hall, led by Professor Bloeser, was the sources of dissidence and dysfunction in Congress, including asking the question, “Are we [the voters] complicit in Congressional dysfunction?”
Professor Bloeser began with a general overview of the town hall. He had two main points he wanted to discuss:
1.) Sources and Consequences of Dysfunction:
-The role of Congressional elites
-The role of citizens
2.) Possible Solutions to Dysfunction
-The role of citizens
He then moved into specific examples of voter dysfunction, opening with the House Speakership Situation. He did so by running through the initial candidates for the position, after Speaker Boehner’s resignation as well as the problems that arose with each one, until Paul Ryan became set to assume to role. Professor Bloeser talked here of the Congressional zeitgeist as being one not just of polarization, but instead being an adversarial environment complete with hostile rhetoric both during the campaign period and in governance.
The discussion then shifted to the problematic leadership, both in terms of Republican leadership and in terms of Democratic leadership. A student expressed the idea that social conservatism has damaged potential electability, while another expressed the concern that increased polarization has led to a decrease in participation. While these ideas were explored, the question, “Who is to blame?” came into play as well.
From here the conversation shifted for a moment, spurred by the question of a professor in the audience, to a debate between the “rhetoric of ‘less government’ versus the reality of ‘less government,” and whether voters are connecting the two.
The event came to a close with discussions of the intersections of morality and politics, tea party foundations and support, and advocating for more participation from the general public. The final question of the question and answer session was: “Is compromise the right strategy or is there a superior virtue in adversarial (impassioned) politics?”
CPP Hosts First Responsible Voter Open House
By Heather Bosau
On Wednesday, October 27, 2015, the Center for Political Participation hosted its first “Responsible Voter Open House,” that brought together students and local representatives for casual discussion and voter registration and polling place information.
Mitch Kates, the campaign manager for Supreme Court candidate David Wecht, as well as by Sam Pendolino and his wife, and Crawford County Democrat Chairperson Pat Donahue, made appearances. These representatives talked with students and offered information about voter registration, politics in Meadville, and information about specific candidates.
Also present at this event were representatives from the Andrew Goodman Foundation, who helped students register to vote, and CPP fellows who provided information about polling places in Meadville, and helped students check the status of their registrations, both in Meadville and with regard to absentee voting.
This project began as a result of the 2014-2015 Harvard IOP Ambassador Program, in which schools from across the country met to develop campus advocacy plans surrounding issues such as voter registration and voter participation.
Thank you to our guests and to everyone who made this event possible! We look forward to working with you in the future!
CPP Hosts Quigley Town Hall about Planned Parenthood
By Heather Bosau
On November 11, 2015, Professor Courtney Bailey from the Communication Arts Department and Madison Baric (‘17) led a Quigley Town Hall entitled, “Who Decides: Planned Parenthood, Women’s Health and Government Control.” Held over a pizza lunch in Quigley Auditorium, this event garnered interest and fostered discussion between students and faculty alike.
Madison Baric began her portion of the presentation with a discussion of the legal history of Planned Parenthood by speaking of the privacy issues raised in Griswold v. Connecticut, the legacy of forced sterilization explored in Buck v. Bell and the issue of abortion found in Roe v. Wade.
This background laid the foundation for a discussion of the contemporary stalemate over the federal budget over the defunding of Planned Parenthood. The stated purpose of this Quigley Town Hall, then, was to open up discussion of and beyond the polarization surrounding the issue of funding.
Professor Bailey then opened the discussion up even further by beginning to explore two seemingly incompatible facets of the Planned Parenthood debate: religious liberty and women’s health. Professor Bailey argued that discussions regarding Planned Parenthood have been reduced to an abortion debate, despite such services making up “only 3% of Planned Parenthood services” offered.
From these introductions, the discussion flowed from the Hyde Amendment to the history of Planned Parenthood.
Professor Justin Vaughn Speaks at Allegheny
By Heather Bosau
On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, Professor Justin Vaughn from Boise State University visited Allegheny to deliver his address “The Post-Rhetorical Campaign and the 2016 Presidential Election.” Prior to his address, Professor Vaughn met with students at lunch, in class and at dinner, to discuss his research, the classes he is teaching and contemporary events including the controversies at the University of Missouri and Yale, as well as the presidential debates thus far.
At a pizza lunch with students and CPP fellows and administrators, Professor Vaughn discussed in depth a class he is teaching on campaign strategy, in which a wide variety of Republican campaign strategists act as co-teachers and guests of the class. This led students to a discussion of their predictions regarding who will get the Republican nomination come convention time.
Following lunch, Professor Vaughn spoke with Professor Callen’s class “Statistics and Data Analysis” in which he talked more in-depth about his research and research process, prior to moving to dinner. At dinner, Professor Vaugn, CPP fellows and faculty, discussed contemporary events such as issues on college campuses.
After dinner, the group moved to the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center where Professor Vaughn delivered his keynote. He began by defining the term “post-rhetorical” by first discussing the book The Rhetorical Presidency by Jeffrey Tulis. It was to this work that the post-rhetorical work of Vaughn is responding. In his book, Tulis talks about a shift in the presidency in which presidents began communicating with the public to achieve specific policy goals. In a 2009 article co-authored by Vaughn, the next transition (from rhetorical to post-rhetorical) is defined as, “the use of presidential speech ‘to distract and stymie the mass public’ using techniques designed to confuse public opinion, prevent citizen action and frustrate citizen deliberation” (Jennifer R. Mercieca and Justin S. Vaughn. 2009). From that essay to his current research, he has revised his thesis to read, “The post-rhetorical presidency utilizes the communication tools of the modern presidency but no longer o lead the policy process, but rather to perform presidential leadership while the business of governing is done elsewhere” (Vaughn), to which he added the note, “Goodbye ‘Going Public,’ Hello ‘Performing the Presidency.’”
He then explained the reasons for the presidency becoming post rhetorical:
● Growing gap between heroic expectations and institutional reality
● Polarized national politics
● Impotence of the Bully Pulpit
● Changing Media Environment/ Rise of New Tools
He followed this with a list of the “post-rhetorical symptoms” that he then followed with two case studies:
● Deployment of Distractions
● Lack of Policy Substance
● Overt Dishonesty and Questionable Manipulation of Information
● Non-rhetorical devices:
○ Rise of Unrealistic Policy Making
○ Decline of Transparency
For each of the rhetorical devices, he then studied both the 2012 Republican National Convention and the 2012 Democratic National Convention, as well as the 2016 Debates on both sides. For each, he found each symptom in at least one key player or moment.
Before opening the floor for a lively question and answer session, Professor Vaughn concluded, “The post rhetorical era is here to stay…for now.” He also made sure to note that there is, “No clear distinction between campaigning and governing” within this paradigm.
CPP and JPI Host First Lunchtime Discussion about Primary Issues
By Heather Bosau
On February 11, 2016, Allegheny College’s Journalism in the Public Interest Program and the Center for Political Participation jointly hosted the first in a series of three lunchtime conversations about issues pervading the political primary season. Thursdays event was entitled, “Emerging Issues: Hot Topics Permeating the Primaries.” Professor Slote from the English Department, Professor Bloeser from the Political Science Department, and Heather Bosau from the Center for Political Participation started the conversation by outlining three different issues as starting points for further analysis: how the media perceives millennials, the flaws of horserace politics, and the Zika virus as an entry point into a discussion about the media framing of political issues.
After the three speakers provided the basis for their talking points, they opened the floor for discussion and debate amongst the audience. Professors and students alike offered their opinions, insights and experiences to the conversation, effectively filling the time allotted for the discussion. Such avenues of conversation included what ‘media’ as a concept includes, source origins for images found on the internet, and different sources of news, from social media to more conventional news sources.
CPP Fellows Participate in Second Annual Agents of Change Conference
Contributed by CPP Student Fellow Mikki Franklin
By Heather Bosau
On Saturday, February 13, 2016, CPP Fellows took part in Allegheny College’s Second Annual Agents of Change Conference. The event opened with a registration period in which CPP Fellows were present to provide voter registration information to conference attendees, including registration cards and information about polling places.
Following the registration and breakfast period, keynote speaker John Fetterman spoke to students, faculty and community members in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center. At his keynote, Fetterman discussed his background, his entry into public and political life, and his continued activism for his community.
After Fetterman’s address, which received a standing ovation, a brief networking period was followed by the first series of breakout sessions. At the CPP session, CPP fellows led the group in a discussion about barriers to political mobilization and voting on college campuses. Following the discussion, which spanned both national issues and issues specifically relevant to Allegheny’s campus, the group completed an activity by analyzing a scenario and discussing various methods of increasing voter participation with regard to the scenario provided by the fellows.
While the second series of breakout sessions occurred, the CPP Fellows returned to the Tippie Alumni to continue tabling for voter registration. This second series of breakout sessions was followed up by a lunchtime panel about community organizing, and a final event that featured local organizers and activists.
Photo contributed by CPP Student Fellow Mikki Franklin
CPP Hosts Quigley Town Hall on Zika Virus
By Heather Bosau
On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the Allegheny College Center for Political Participation hosted a Quigley Town Hall entitled, “It’s Spreading Explosively: Thinking Through the 2015-2016 Zika Virus Outbreak.” Facilitated by Professor’s Vesta Silva, Amelia Nardi and Becky Dawson, this town hall explored the science behind the virus, its direct and indirect health effects, the economics of spread of the virus, and the rhetorical devices used when reporting on the virus.
The panel of three professors began the event by first providing a basic history of Zika and introducing their myriad focuses before opening up the floor for discussion. In providing this initial history, they first provided a definition of a global health emergency, defining it as “a health problem that spreads across borders and focuses on need” before then narrowing the scope to Zika, which was discovered in 1947, specifically.
Professor Dawson talked about it being mosquito born though spread sexually, and that it is suspected to be a contributing factor to a rise in the rates of Microcephaly and Guillain Barre Syndrome.
In looking at the economics of the situation, Professor Nardi then mentioned the three dimensions of such a conversation, including the microeconomics (how people make decisions), the macroeconomics (how individual decisions add up) and the cost (as a result of both direct and indirect/longterm health effects).
Professor Silva outlined the various strands of narrative that make up discussions and reporting of Zika. In such a story, she suggests that WHO and the CDC are the authoritative voices trying to tell “The Zika Story.”” The Mosquito is the villain. Images of both the military and scientists as “Scientific Soldiers” tell the story of Zika as a war, while science is the weapon, which Professor Silva notes is common to outbreak narratives. Concluding this story are images that show the “Innocent (But Far Away) Victims.”
At this point, the professors allowed for the audience to begin asking questions. Among them were questions about the effect on the national and international economy if Zika continues to be a concern during summer travel month (and if it comes to the US), the cause of the initial outbreak, common symptoms and any available treatments, as well as the reasoning for Zika becoming such a hot button issue, while other topics, such as TB and the flu remain out of the public focus. With regard to the economic questions, the answer was one of uncertainty. We cannot know the effect on the economy until the effect has already been incurred. However, the panel of professors made sure to note that the question is not if it will come here, so much as when.
In moving on to questions about the initial outbreak, they explained that there is not “Patient Zero” as it would commonly be identified, but that it came out of Uganda from the Zika Forest. The symptoms, when it does not lead to serious illness such as Microcephaly or Guillain Barre Syndrome are often unnoticeable, or include minor ailments such as headaches. There is also no current treatment or vaccine, though one is currently in the works. There is also research being done regarding curbing the mosquito population as a method of eradicating this virus and others.
The town hall ended on a discussion of the framing of outbreak narratives, and why Zika is receiving so much attention. In response to Zika versus TB or the Flu, the consensus was that, “We’re not good at long-term narratives.”
Thank you to the professors who presented and the students, faculty and members of the community who attended! As always, lunch was provided.
JPI and CPP Host Second Discussion About Primary Issues: Race and Gender
By Heather Bosau
On March 10, 2016, a joint effort from the Journalism in the Public Interest program and the Center for Political Participation brought the second panel discussion, in a series of three, centered on issues related to the primary elections. Professor Barbara Shaw of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department and Professor Courtney Bailey of the Communication Arts department, as well as student David Chudnovsky chaired the discussion and began the event by each speaking about their own interests and focuses with regard to the topics at hand.
Professor Shaw began by speaking about race being “coded in terms of blackness” and gender being “coded in terms of women” which suggests that whiteness and masculinity, as well as the power attached to each remains invisible. She also discussed the primaries being a “re-articulation of strong returns to borders” both physically as well as theoretically with regard to identities.
Professor Bailey then highlighted class as it relates to both gender and race. She focused on tensions within right-wing ideology as well as left-wing ideology that conflate race and gender with class. During her portion of the opening, and image on screen was a farcical photo in which women at a Trump rally are wearing t-shirts doctored to say, “Make America White Again.”
Chudnovsky concluded the opening remarks by speaking of his personal experiences and the experiences of his family as they related to the topics of the talk.
The subsequent discussion with the audience was centered around the question, “WHy now?” This question was meant to interrogate the rise of racial and gender based discourse during this primary election cycle, in comparison to previous election cycle. Responses ranged from “epistemic uncertainty” to the unifying factor of “people being tired of the establishment.” Proponents of this argument suggested that both sides are were unifying around this complaint, though doing so in different ways. Others argued that neither of these discussions are new, but are simply becoming a part of the mainstream because of who is broadcasting them and who has begun to listen.
The audience was left with questions such as “Why are demographic affiliations emerging?” And “How do certain issues get coded differently?”
JPI and CPP Host Final Primaries Discussion: “Inequality and the 2016 Election”
By Heather Bosau
On Thursday, April 14, 2016, JPI and the CPP hosted their final event in the Primary Issues series. Featuring retired economics professor Donald Goldstein, Communication Arts professor Joe Tompkins and sophomore Arianna O’Connell began the event by speaking speaking about the topic at hand. Professor Goldstein began with an economic analysis of the last thirty years, discussing issues such as minimum wage and inflation. He then began to discuss the political response to these issues, and how divergent responses manifested across the political spectrum.
Professor Tompkins then began to speak about the power of the media. He argued that the media is part of the commercial system. Its main purpose then is not to inform, educate or entertain, but instead to deliver audiences to advertisers. He further suggested that, “Media cannot tell us what to think, but they can tells us what to think about.” Topics that we are told (not) to think about include poverty/wealth inequality and Trump’s relative unpopularity.
Arianna then spoke of social media and its role in either perpetuating or shifting the standards established by the mainstream media’s coverage.
Once the three speakers made their initial remarks, the audience was invited to participate in a question/answer discussion that lasted the rest of the event. There was talk of Bernie Sanders’ use of social media, and how, though he is winning millennials with such strategies, he is not engaging the 65+ population.
Title IX Office, ASG and CPP Host The Hunting Ground Event
By Shannon McConnell
On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, Allegheny College hosted a screening of the controversial documentary film The Hunting Ground, which discusses the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses. The event was sponsored by Allegheny’s Title IX Office, Allegheny Student Government (ASG) and The Center for Political Participation (CPP).
The screening was immediately followed by a panel discussion moderated by two CPP student fellows, Mikki Franklin and Heather Bosau, and seven members from the Meadville and Allegheny community: Francis J. Schultz, Crawford County District Attorney; The Meadville Police Department; Sean Kennedy, Interim Director of Safety and Security at Allegheny College; Denise Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at the Meadville Medical Center; Bruce Harlan, Executive Director for Women’s Services in Meadville; Gilly Ford, Title IX Coordinator at Allegheny College and Kimberly Ferguson, Dean of Students at Allegheny College.
Law & Policy Program at Allegheny College
The Center for Political Participation and Pre-Law are very excited to offer theLaw & Policy Program. It blends students’ academic goals and preparation in international and domestic law and policy with ongoing opportunities in career education, internships, study away, civic learning, and community programming.
The Law & Policy Program provides opportunities for students to explore law and policy from theory to practice. Through integrated courses and collaborative learning experiences, including campus and community workshops, lectures, independent research, and internship opportunities, students engage critical and complex challenges confronting our world – criminal justice reform, human rights, climate change, severe poverty and income inequality, for example – while exploring opportunities for careers in fields that reflect those interests.
How it Works
Once you have been accepted into the Program, you are responsible for working with the Center for Political Participation (CPP) Student Fellows to track and document—via reflective entries in your portfolio—progress through the L&P Program.
CPP Student Fellows will be your peer leaders, working alongside faculty and administrators to ensure that you have a successful and rewarding experience with the Law & Policy Program.
To complete the concentration in Law & Policy, you must accumulate and document 120 “points.” Different activities and experiences carry different values. You will work with Program coordinators and CPP Fellows to identify experiences that count towards the concentration.
Sample Law and Policy Program Activities (not an exhaustive list)
Robert H. Jackson Center event (5 points)
L&P approved Internship (20 points)
ACRoSS /Independent Research/Senior Project with L&P focus (20 points)
Study Away with L&P focus (20 points)
Quigley Town Hall (5 points)
Workshop/Speaker/Performance/Film (5 points)
Student Government, Campus Newspaper (5 through 20 points/position)
Pre-Law/Grad School/National Fellowship Events and Advising (5 points)
Career Education Events (5 points)
Linked Course (20 points, no more than 60 total)
Students in the Law & Policy Program develop portfolios that serve to document your progress through the Program. For example, complete portfolios would include such items as personal statements for law school and grad school applications, awards, reflection papers on workshops, independent research, study away, civic engagement courses and programs, coursework, senior projects, and other items that reflect your developing interests in law and policy. Completed portfolios will be submitted in April of your senior year to a review committee of faculty and administrators. At that point, an exit interview is scheduled, the portfolio is evaluated, and the concentration in Law & Policy is granted.
Thank you for your interest in the exciting new program in Law & Policy. If you would like to apply, you may do so here:
Apply to Law & Policy Program
If you have any questions about the Program, please feel free to contact any of us, or a CPP Fellow. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!
Kristin M. Mook, Assistant Director of Career Education, Pre-Law Advisor, Allegheny Gateway, email@example.com
Brian M. Harward, Ph.D., Robert G. Seddig Chair in Law and Policy; and Director, Center for Political Participation, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) Results
By Adam Miller
For the past two election cycles, Allegheny College has participated in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), coordinated by Tufts University. This study includes 750 colleges and universities, and provides information about voter registration and participation rates for each institution. The most recent report compares results from the 2012 general election and the 2014 midterm election. As is common for midterm elections, Allegheny College saw a drop in the number of registered students who voted from 43% in 2012 to 9% in 2014. In 2012 43% was only 3 percentage points off of the average of participating schools, but our results from the 2014 midterms fell to 10 points below the average across institutions.
While the 2014 numbers do not show the turnout we had hoped for, students at Allegheny have taken many steps since then to increase voter turnout. In early 2015, four Allegheny students were selected to be Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) Student Ambassadors. The Andrew Goodman Foundation, established in honor of the slain civil rights worker, is dedicated to student civic action. Allegheny’s Ambassadors have worked on several key campus policies, organized voter registration drives, and coordinated shuttles to the polls during the primaries. The Center for Political Participation (CPP) student fellows have also been busy increasing voter participation on campus. After compiling a database of absentee voting laws in all 50 states, Abigail Lombard and Heather Bosau organized a voter registration drive this past fall that also informed students on how to register for absentee voting in their home states. The CPP also sent student fellows Heather Bosau and Adam Miller (’18) to the National Campaign Conference at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. There, they worked with students from other schools, as well as election professionals, to create ways to increase voter participation on all campuses, especially among First Year students.
While the numbers from the NSLVE study do not show the participation we had hoped for, there is much to look forward to. Allegheny students have dedicated themselves to increasing voter turnout on campus since the 2014 election. Hopefully we will see the results of these efforts this fall.
2015-2016 CPP Student Fellows