America’s founders met in bars as they hammered out the nation’s beginnings. Now Florida State University is using a Tallahassee pub as one of the scenes for several open discussions about this year’s election.
Dr. Tim Chapin is the interim dean of FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. He thinks a big part of the college’s mission is to get out of the classroom and into the community.
“The College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University I think has a particular responsibility to inform public debate and discourse about a host of issues. Not just the political environment and the election, but the economy, the environment, social issues regarding gender and race and ethnicity,” Chapin said.
But, since this electoral cycle has been a nearly all-consuming reality, the College has begun its outreach with a regular series of community forums on politics, as Communications Director Rob Nixon explained.
“If you’re familiar with the Science Cafes that the Mag Lab does, you kind of get the idea. It’s at the Backwoods Bistro on a Tuesday night every month for the first three months of the fall.”
The first of these “Policy Pub” gatherings happened last month and featured LeRoy Collins Institute Director Dr. Carol Weissert. Dean Chapin noted two more Policy Pubs are coming up.
“We’ve got a number of our own faculty in our college talking about the election; the expectation for what people might and might not do, voting behavior and what’s going to happen after the election, so a post-election event,” he said.
On Tuesday, October 18th, Political Science Professors Brad Gomez and Robert Jackson will tackle the question “Why do we Vote?” Policy Pubs wrap up November 15th with “It’s Over! What Now?” with Sociology Professor Deana Rohlinger and Claude Pepper Center Director Larry Polivka. Both will start at 5:30 p.m. Nixon said these are by no means dry, academic lectures.
“Direct, plain language presentations by our faculty,” he explained. “Here’s what you need to know about how we got to this point in the election; why we vote the way we do and in November right after the election, we’ll have one that says, ‘Okay, it’s over; now what’s going to happen? Here are the implications for a lot of different areas.’”
But even before those, Dean Chapin said there are two other political presentations coming up.
“Cynthia Tucker with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dr. Susan McManus from USF will provide some outsider perspective on what’s going on nationally as well as in Florida regarding politics, the election and aftermath.”
Tucker is in town this Friday, Oct. 7th. She’ll be part of a panel on “Why Voters are so Angry” at 10:00 a.m.at the DeVoe Moore Center in the Bellamy Building. She’ll then talk about “Diversity, Demographics and Trump” at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon in the College of Law Rotunda. The Susan McManus lecture entitled, “2016: An Election Like No Other” will start at 7:00 p.m. next Thursday, October 13, at the William Johnson Building. Rob Mixon said the College web site has more details of that impressive lineup.
“Listeners who want to know more about the events we have coming up – and about the College in general and all the great work we do there – can visit us at: www.coss.fsu.edu.”
He said any of these is a great opportunity to get some valuable insights that go way beyond the typical campaign talking points, opponent character assassinations and bumper-sticker policy pronouncements.