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Students discuss democracy

By James Byers | Mass Communication '20
Social Marketing Team writer

A student discusses political leadership at a Town Hall meeting.

Students gathered to discuss leadership and politics during the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, October 22 in the Lane University Center Atkinson Room.  Dr. Tim Magrath, a political science instructor, facilitated the discussion. The event was organized by Patrick O’Brien, director of Civic Engagement; Randall Lowe, librarian; Bill Mandicott, assistant vice president for Student and Community Involvement; and Dr. Stephen Twing, political science professor.

The topic of discussion for the night was leaders. Magrath asked students to think of what topics about leaders were most important and to begin the discussion from there. Cayla Johnson, a mass communications major, began on the topic of Trump’s impeachment.

Many students shared their perspectives on the topic. Opinions ranged from each corner of the political spectrum. Magrath urged everyone to think critically, including the topic of Ukraine’s involvement with Trump and Russia.

“From a political science perspective, what country benefits from Ukraine not getting aid?” Magrath questioned.

This prompted a lot of thoughts from the students, challenging students to think critically about current events and recent history. Some students felt confident in their knowledge, while others came to learn. No matter the level of political knowledge, everyone was treated with respect.

While the broad topic was leadership, the more precise topics ranged from Trump’s impeachment, to taxes, and finally, to the Democratic primary challengers.

No matter what the topic, many in the room agreed that keeping up with politics right now is a difficult undertaking. Ricky Whitmore, a senior, shared this sentiment during the meeting.

“It’s so overwhelming to keep up with everything. It makes it difficult to focus on one issue in-depth for longer than a few hours,” explained Whitmore.

Students discuss politics at a Town Hall meeting.

Students in attendance came from a variety of backgrounds with many different ideologies. The discussion gave students an opportunity to engage in democracy during a time where that has become increasingly important. Students left with new perspectives on policy, government, political parties, and life.