Professors exchange insights on presidential election

by Benjamin Sandell

Rhetoric department assistant professor John Logie, along with many University students, anxiously watched the outcome of last week’s presidential election recount deadline.
During an informal discussion in Logie’s office, he realized students were hungry for more information about the unusual election. He contacted six other University professors from a variety of disciplines to speak at a Monday night forum on the latest developments.
Many of the professors argued the election highlighted potential problems with the Electoral College. About 20 students attended the discussion sponsored by the Rhetoric Association of Scientific and Technical Communicators at the St. Paul Student Center Theater.
“We thought it was a good idea to allow the professors to bounce (ideas) off one another,” Logie said.
Jonathan Cihlar, president of the rhetoric organization, said the forum provided an opportunity for students to hear from professors with different perspectives.
Many professors argued the on-going election dispute has had the positive effect of engaging more Americans in the political process.
“There’s a lot of controversy over several aspects of the election,” said James Druckman, an assistant professor of political science. “More people are paying attention to this election than any other.”
Guy Charles, an associate law professor, said he welcomed the opportunity to share his understanding of the election with students. He argued the courts might not be able to provide a remedy.
Others discussed the technical problems with voter ballots.
Joseph Konstan, associate professor of computer science, said the ballots proved problematic because they were set up by “the tyranny of the machine.”
Konstan added it was reasonable for people to have been confused over the butterfly ballot.
“It doesn’t look good for the eventual victor,” said history research fellow Michael Lerner. “It may get a whole lot better or it may get a whole lot worse before this thing is over.”
Other speakers included journalism professor Ken Doyle and speech communications professor Karlyn Kohrs Campbell.

Benjamin Sandell welcomes comments at [email protected]