Teach-In to inform students on voting issues

Samuel Nusbaum, Administration Reporter

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The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, Student Government and the History Department are co-sponsoring a Teach-In on current political issues to educate students on the upcoming election.

History professor Debra Reid said she hopes the Teach-In will generate questions and discussion from the students who attend.

The Teach-In will cover the history of the Democrats and Republicans. History professor Mark Hubbard will talk about the Republican Party up to the 1960s and Andrew McNitt, a political science professor, will cover the Democrats from 1965 to now. This will lead into a discussion of major issues and topics in this upcoming election.

The issues they will cover range from Supreme Court nominees to appropriations for higher education to race issues and immigration.

They will tie the issues into the parties by explaining how each party views each issue and their stances and solutions.

“I think there is a lot of misinformation about what the parties really stand for,” Reid said.

Reid said she hopes people can make decisions based on facts, instead of emotions and rumors being taken as fact.

Beth Gillespie, interim director of civic engagement and volunteerism, said the idea started in the spring with Student Body President Catie Witt helping students understand the impact of their vote with a voter registration drive.

“My first time voting was when I was a college student and I walked by a voter registration booth and my friends were like ‘hey we should do this,’” Gillespie said. “I voted for that very first time. I didn’t know much about the candidates and where they stood and why it was important to use my voice.”

Gillespie said the Teach-In will not devolve into a debate over which side is better. Rather, it will show the issues from both sides and perspectives.

Gillespie said it is critical for students to understand the issues.

“Everybody is going to have different key topics that are going to be important to them…If you don’t know where your party stands, you could be voting for the wrong side for you,” Gillespie said.

The event will end with Reid walking students through a gallery tour of parts of the Booth Library exhibit, “For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights.”

The Teach-In will be from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the Oakland Room in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Reid said she hopes to do something like the Teach-In for Election Day as well.

Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]