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Photo by: Richard Galbreath
Election forum features faculty opinions on Presidential Candidates
October 20, 2016
A panel of Nicholls faculty participated in a debate in which they exposed their views on the upcoming presidential election at a forum on October 18 in Peltier Auditorium.
The purpose of this year’s forum was for faculty to make sense of the national election and decipher what it means for America moving forward.
Paul Wilson, associate professor of history, was among the panelists.
“It tends to be a more elevated conversation than what you see on the news,” Wilson said. “We want students to see that educated people disagree and don’t hate each other.”
The event was aimed to be educational for students and to help them learn about the issues from people who have researched and studied American politics.
Each faculty member provided a few questions to be covered at the event. They discussed the character and behavior of both presidential nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The panel also talked about economic issues, social issues, foreign policy, cultural issues and social issues that have come up in the campaign itself.
“We all have views,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, America is at each other’s throats and they all think they are on the side of justice and morality.”
The forum gave students insight into their teachers’ political stances.
“It gives me an opportunity to express views that I don’t feel comfortable saying in class,” Wilson said. “My job is not to indoctrinate students, but to teach them history. However, I am also a citizen and I have my own beliefs.”
David Whitney, assistant professor of government, also took part in the panel discussion. He explained why this election is important for college students.
“This is the first presidential election that a lot of students can vote for,” Whitney said. “With the national election coming up, this is a great time to learn about the issues and be informed.”
The other faculty panelists included Allen Alexander, interdisciplinary studies department head, Michele Caruso, dean of student services, Shari Lawrence, professor of finance and Rusty Thysell, professor of government.
“The forum gives students an opportunity to listen and hopefully be able to make an informed decision come election time,” Thysell said.
The floor was opened to students to ask questions at the end of the event.
Wilson began the faculty panel discussions back in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Topics discussed in the past have included elections, current events, cultural issues, and social issues. There is a campus wide invitation for faculty to come speak at these forums.
“It is fun,” Wilson said. “I may not be good at sports, but I can compete in a forum.”