News from abroad – David Coffey’s first report from England

By David Coffey

Hey everyone, I successfully arrived in Preston this Sunday to start my semester abroad at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). So far the weather’s been good and the people I’ve met have been even better. I’ll be taking classes in politics and sociology, but I plan on doing more than just that. I’m hoping to get in contact with some city officials or other political figures while I’m here to compare their government with that of the United States. I’ll keep you in the loop if anything exciting happens. Wish me luck-and as the British say, pip pip, cheerio!

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ECSU Polisci Students and peers provide valuable testimony at the State Appropriations Committee to support state funded education

A group of nine SGA Senator students from ECSU traveled to Hartford in February to provide their testimony at the State Appropriation Committee at the Legislature of the State of Connecticut. The group of students of ECSU was the most numerous of all delegates of the CSU system present at the meeting. These student representatives were able to voice their concerns regarding the future of public funded higher education in the state. Of particular relevance were the testimonies of political science students Per Björnstad (also President of the student body at ECSU), Mathew Hicks and Erin Drouin, who narrated, through her own personal experiences how much publicly funded education is helping them to achieve their educational objectives.

Their testimonies can be found at the available video recordings of the hearings found at the following marks: 22:05, 1:22:04, 1:33:06, 2:01:48 and 2:43:00. At the end of the meeting State Representative Jay Case personally thanked students for their brave effort to defend their cause.

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a message of international responsibility at ECSU

Former Secretary Madeleine Albright and Professor Mendoza-Botelho during the Q&A

Last March former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited ECSU as part of the Arts and Lecture series. During her talk ““Economy and Security in the 21st Century” she emphasized the pivotal role that the U.S. plays in an always changing global political scenario. As the first female Secretary of State in the US, and at that time the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government, she also commented on the many challenges that she faced as woman diplomat in a global political world still dominated by men. One of her powerful arguments was related to the importance of continuing building democratic institutions around the globe and the respect for international norms. In the Q&A section that followed moderated by Professor Mendoza-Botelho, former Secretary Albright provided a unique insight to the world of high politics, splashed by anecdotes of her interaction with global figures such as Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger and Sadam Hussein during her tenure as Secretary of State. At the end of the event Ms. Albright  received a gift on behalf of ECSU from the hands of honor student Erin Drouin (Class of 2016).

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New members of the prestigious Honor’s Society for Political Science ΦΣΑ (Pi Sigma Alpha)

 

By Nicole Krassas

The new proud members of Pi Sigma Alpha ’14

On Monday, April 28, the political science program inducted 6 students into Eastern’s chapter of the National Honor Society for Political Science, Pi Sigma Alpha.  Our chapter’s name is Alpha Beta Gamma.  Pi Sigma Alpha was originally created before political science was an academic discipline to bring together students and faculty interested in studying government and politics from across a variety of academic areas.  As the study of politics became more formalized into an academic discipline it became a venue to recognize and convene the most promising students in the discipline.

Bill Welz ’10 welcomes new students to Pi Sigma Alpha

Our keynote speaker for the event was Bill Welz ’10 (Pi Sigma Alpha Member), who is currently the Executive Aide to the General Council in Governor Malloy’s Office.  Bill spoke about his path from college student to political professional with great clarity and eloquence and we are most appreciative of his time. 

In order to qualify for membership in the organization, students must be in at least their 3rd year of college and have junior class standing.  In addition, they must have completed at least 20 credits at Eastern and maintained an overall grade point average of 3.4 with at least a 3.2 in the major.  Very few students each year meet those qualifications.  The students inducted on Monday were Kyle Donovan, Matthew Hicks, Kenneth Lord, William McLaughlin, Harrison McNair and Je’Quana Orr. Please congratulate them if you see them!

Also present were the political science faculty and two of our three student members who were inducted last year, Nels Frantzen and Erin Daly who helped to make the event quite special.  Kate Schaen could not make it as she was at her internship in the state capitol and could not get to campus in time.  All in all it was a great event and we were happy to meet the friends and family who were able to come to support their inductees.

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Political Science on the Road

By Nicole Krassas

On April 2nd, while waiting to board a plane to Chicago to attend the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), I ran into a former student, Bruce Desmarais ’05, now on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Bruce was also traveling to the APSA with two of his graduate students to present work on the communication patterns of local governments that has been funded by the National Science Foundation.  On Thursday, the 3rd, my co-author from SUNY Brockport, Dena Levy, delivered our paper on spending and school performance to an enthusiastic audience ready to talk about the implications of school choice policies.  This paper was also co-authored with Erin Daily ’14, who unfortunately could not attend the conference as she is completing student teaching this semester to begin her career as an elementary school teacher after graduation.  The conference was well attended by more than 5000 people from the U.S. and around the world and had numerous excellent panels on pretty much every area of political science.  The other Eastern connection at the conference was Brian DiSarro ’01 who is now a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.  Brian was at the conference presenting work on the implications of using the court case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, to teach key concepts in law and judicial process.  It was great to see two such successful graduates, to recharge my creative juices and to catch up with recent advances in the fields I teach and do research in.

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Professor William Newell retires soon

By Hope Fitz

Professor William Newell is leaving us for a new phase of his life. We will miss him but we wish him well in his future endeavors and the many books which he plans to write.

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Student Matt Hicks reflects on the future of conservatism after his attendance at CPAC 2014

By Matt Hicks
Senior at Eastern Connecticut State University
Political Science Major and History and Pre-Law Minors

Republicans looking for a fresh start, hope for a future in fiscal conservatism

This was my third straight year attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). I have had the honor of travelling to D.C. with the Eastern Conservative-Libertarians club since my freshman year. Through those three years I have noticed a transition amongst the attendees of CPAC, never so strongly as this year, however. This year it was clear that libertarianism was in the air. After quickly dismissing the initial thought that the Potomac River was at fault for this “crazy” atmosphere, I realized that the interests of the attendees had changed drastically. Panel discussions were centered around issues such as: the legalization of marijuana, the role of conservative females in the workforce, and the government’s role in the educational system amongst many others. It seemed that the crux of every panel came down to economic consequences. Speakers such as Rick Perry refrained from the normal onslaught of President Obama’s leadership but rather focused the majority of his efforts on the economic successes that Texas has seen; suggesting a similar fiscal model for the nation as a whole. Whether Mr. Perry ‘s argument was feasible is not the take away, rather what I took away from his speech, and from the conference as a whole is that the Republican party seems to be heading in a new direction: toward a libertarian focus. This focus was highlighted by Rand Paul dominating the straw poll, receiving 31% of the votes when attendees were asked who they’d prefer as the next presidential candidate from the Republican Party. In a distant second was Ted Cruz, with 11%. That means that 42% of the crowd favored a candidate associated with libertarian values, over other candidates such as Marco Rubio or Chris Christie. My first thought was this was just a jerk reaction to recent appeals made by these two rising stars, but upon further consideration it appears clear that libertarianism is here to stay. Over 50% of the conference attendees were students, and we have grown up seeing that economic values are crucial to the success, or failures, of a nation. Every Republican meeting, dinner, fundraiser, or door knocking campaign I have been on I hear the phrase “young people are the future of this party,” and it appears clear that young people want fiscal conservatism.  It will be interesting to see how this young and refreshing libertarianism attitude grows and spreads over the next year, but given the enthusiasm, passion, and vigor among the youngest and most active members of the Republican Party at CPAC I would say we are in for a transition that will test the way we view our political system.

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Upcoming talk with UConn Professor Luis van Isschot on the evolution of Human Rights using the case of Oil in Colombia

3-4pm, Monday, April 14, 2014
Faculty Lounge, Room 358 Webb Hall
Refreshments will be provided


Luis van Isschot is Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. For more than a decade he worked internationally supporting human rights advocates in Latin America and elsewhere, mainly with the NGO Peace Brigades International. Dr. Isschot’s research seeks to explain the emergence of human rights as a new paradigm of social protest during the Cold War. In 2008 he was full-time Coordinator of the Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations oral history project. His current book project, The Social Origins of Human Rights: Protesting Political Violence in Colombia’s Oil Capital, 1919-2010, examines why, how, and with what impact, people living in conflcit areas organize collectively to assert human rights. Established by Standard Oil in 1919, the oil enclave of Barrancabermeja has long been a critical battleground in Colombia’s armed conflict. Drawing on interviews, as well as social movement and legal archives, he situates the experiences of frontline activists within broader debates on the history of the international movement for human rights.

For more details contact Dr. Roland Clark (clarkrol@easternct.edu) or Dr. Bradley C. Davis (davisbrad@easternct.edu).

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Eastern students attend a highly energized Conservative Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

By Meaghan McFall-Gorman
Freshmen at Eastern Connecticut State University
English Major and Political Science Minor

This past weekend, from March 6th to 9th, several students from Eastern Conservative-Libertarian Club went to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The speakers featured included Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Governor Chris Christie, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin among many others. Many are notable Republican political figures, however the conference itself is not exclusive to people who identify with the Republican party, rather it is meant for those with conservative to libertarian ideologies. The panels held throughout the conference demonstrated the differences of opinion even within the conservative ideology. Panels were held on topics ranging from the legalization of marijuana, Edward Snowden, Gun legislation, economics, possible American involvement in the Ukraine, and women in politics. As a female who identifies as conservative, I greatly enjoyed these women-based and hel panels, because they analyzed the unique state that is being a woman in a party that is condemned for having a “war” against us. The other panels were just as interesting, demonstrating the dichotomy of pot legalization as the new wave of conservatives (my generation) begin to take hold in society. Overall, the experience was extremely eye-opening experience, that has furthered my interest in politics and leaves me waiting until the next political conference I can have an opportunity to attend. I would highly reccomend CPAC to any student, any individual, of any ideology, as it is an intellectually stimulating and awareness-raising event all people should experience.

 

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Pizza and Politics Night – ECSU Professor of Communication and former U.S. diplomat César Beltrán talks on the legacy of Madeleine Albright

 By César Beltrán

During the course of our separate careers Madeleine Albright and I have often crossed paths. My first encounter with her was in the mid-1980s, when I was serving as the U.S. Information Agency Desk Officer for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I had just completed a tumultuous three-year tour in Krakow, Poland, witnessed the rise and fall of the Solidarnosc trade union movement, and received an unprecedented two promotions in the Foreign Service, thanks to what I had just experienced and reported on in Central Europe. At this time, Professor Albright was carrying out research on Solidarnosc, pestering me for a speaker’s grant (AmPart Program) to get into Central Europe, and tutoring two political aspirants, Bill and Hillary Clinton, in matters of international relations at her Georgetown home. For her efforts, Madeleine Albright subsequently would be named by President Clinton as Ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State, a position she held from 1997 to 2001. Overall, Madeleine Albright’s approach to foreign policy—while not perfect—was well-informed, clearly intelligent, and based on a deep and wide understanding of politics and history, particularly in Europe.

Cesar D. Beltran
Career Counselor (Retired)
Senior Foreign Service
U.S. State Department

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