2015 News Archive
On October 23rd of 2015, the Department of Political Science, The Department of Sociology, and The School of Music collaborated in an interdisciplinary Discourse in Democracy event to celebrate Mexican culture, its society, and music. The event included performances by students from the School of Music and commentary from assorted faculty members. This event highlighted Mexico’s beautiful classical music and allowed students in the audience to learn about the importance of the relationship between Mexico’s art, culture, and society. This year the Common Experience theme is “Bridged Through Stories: Shared Heritage of the United States and Mexico, an Homage to Dr. Tomás Rivera.”
Most Americans know that July 4th is our nation's birthday. Far fewer Americans know that September 17th is the birthday of our government, the date in 1787 on which delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completed and signed the U.S. Constitution. In commemoration of Constitution Day 2015, Discourse in Democracy brought in Dr. Greg Weiner of Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts as a guest speaker. Dr. Weiner conducted two afternoon seminars with graduate and undergraduate students exploring whether the idea of judicial supremacy, the idea that the Supreme Court has the ultimate and final say on all constitutional questions, was consistent with the founders’ understanding of the proper role of the judicial branch in our constitutional system. He also delivered an evening lecture, “Independent of Heaven Itself: On the Supremacy of the Supreme Court,” arguing that judicial supremacy was incompatible with republican government and constitutional governance.
Attended by over 300 students and faculty members, the lecture was followed by responses from three members of our political science faculty – Drs. Paul DeHart, Paul Kens and Ken Ward – and a lively discussion with the audience. The department’s Constitution Day activities were co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and made possible by funding provided by The Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.
Walter Wright has recently received two awards. The Houston Journal of International Law has instituted an annual “Walter A. Wright Award” for “Outstanding Comment in International Law.” Additionally, the Association of Conflict Resolution’s International Section has given him a special award in recognition of his outstanding record of service to it.
Dr. Michael Faber had an op-ed article published in the Austin American Statesman on Constitution Day (Thursday, September 17th) addressing the controversy over birthright citizenship and the broader question of constitutional interpretation.
His article can be read here.
Seventy-six undergraduate and graduate students, along with twenty-two professors attended this year's annual Meet the Professors event put together by Discourse and Democracy! They came together to discuss department activities and opportunities, and to have a good time together. Discourse in Democracy T-shirts were handed out to everyone in attendance.
Great turnout for the the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 celebration!
Over seventy people attended the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos on August 6th. The commemoration was co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Texas State University. The commemoration included a reception, a public lecture and a LBJ Birthday celebration. Mr. Larry Temple, Chair of the LBJ Foundation, was the main speaker. Mr. Temple presented an overview of the conditions that led President Johnson to advocate forcefully for the passage of the voting rights law. The attendees to the commemoration ranged from students to retirees and were from both the University and the community. After the lecture, many attendees talked to Mr. Temple about his talk.
Dr. Walter Wright has been working to establish a cross-border mediation program among Dispute Resolution Centers in Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The program is designed to provide free or low-cost mediation services for low-income residents of Texas and Tamaulipas who have disputes with each other and wish to reach amicable resolutions. Mediation organizations and their mediators on both sides of the border will provide the services via video conferences or online services such as Skype and Lync. As part of the program, Dr. Wright has assisted Texas State University in negotiating and entering into a Collaboration Agreement with the Judicial Branch of Tamaulipas; the university’s role will be to provide training for the cross-border mediators. Dr. Wright has also assisted the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center, headquartered in San Marcos, in establishing the first Collaboration Agreement between the Judicial Branch of Tamaulipas and a Texas Dispute Resolution Center. He is currently working with other Texas Dispute Resolution Centers interested in establishing similar Collaboration Agreements and spreading the program throughout the state.
Two graduate students in the Political Science Department presented their research at the Sixth Annual Research Conference for Graduate Students, hosted by the Graduate College on November 5th and 6th. Master of Arts in Political Science student, Karina Lovas presented her paper, “The International Criminal Court and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Examining the International Legal Response Through the Lens of Prosecutor v. Lubanga (2012) and Prosecutor v. Katanga (2014)”. Master of Arts in Legal Studies student, Dan Hodge, presented his paper, “Mobile Apps, Crowdsourcing, and the Blame Game.”
The Model Organization of States teams competed in the 18th annual Ambassador Eugene Scassa Model Organization of American States hosted by Baylor University, November 15-16. Texas State was well represented ant took home several awards.
- Rachel Carrell. Selected as Rapporteur. Secretariat for Administration and Finance.
- Josh Keesee. Selected as Chair. Secretariat for Administration and Finance.
- Melissa Aylward. Selected to the Student Advisory Committee.
- Victoria Kadous, Emily Hinze, Hailee Harris, and Alex Gamez. Co-Best Committee. Secretariat for Political for Political Affairs.
- Ashton Thomas, Melissa Aylward, and, Luther Nuncio. Co-Best Committee. Executive
- Secretariat for Integral Development.
- Marissa Roman. Distinguished Resolution (2nd Place in Committee). General Committee.
- Melissa Aylward. Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). Executive Secretariat for
- Integral Development.
- Tara Dees. Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). General Committee.
- Team Venezuela. Distinguished Position Paper (2nd Place Overall). Written by Rachel Carrell and Tara Dees.
- Dominique Gray-Berroa. Outstanding Ambassador. (1st Place Overall).
- Domonique Gray-Berroa. Voted as Co-President for the 2015 ESMOAS.
- ESMOAS has also recently instituted a program to bring back former students to help serve as judges and advisors for the competition. Because we have been so successful in the past, several of our former students have been selected to serve in these roles, including, Rasha Abu-Zeyadeh, Meghan Ferguson, Cheyenne Krause, Megan Parrish, Javier Reyes, and Sama Sayej.
The Department of Political Science welcomed alumni to talk with Political Science and Public Administration majors about working in the real world following graduation on Nov. 17th. Jordan Berry, a political consultant to several well-known office-holders in Texas and owner of Berry Communications, Scott Hutchinson, Chief of Staff to State Senator Charles Perry, Angela Dozier-Borgman an immigration legal assistant with Foster, LLC, and Jennifer Scott, executive assistant to Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones returned to participate in this annual alumni event. The alums spent two and a half hours talking with students about their work, how they got their jobs, and their recommendations about how to maximize chances of landing that starting position using the skills they learned here at Texas State.
Elizabeth Peterson, undergraduate student, Presents at 2015 International Conference of the Association for Private Enterprise Education in Cancun, Mexico
Elizabeth Peterson, a bachelor of public administration major, presented her research at the 2015 International Conference of the Association for Private Enterprise Education in Cancun, Mexico. Her topic, Market Based Solutions to Poverty, was well-received and aligned with this year's conference theme "Political Economy: 'The Different Progress of Opulence.'"
Sarah Tennent, political science major, is named 2015 LBJ Outstanding Senior Student Award Recipient
The Texas State Alumni Association is proud to announce Sarah Colleen Tennent as the 2015 LBJ Outstanding Senior Student Award Recipient.
Sarah Colleen is a senior, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Military Science. She is graduating in May and is expected to graduate Summa cum Laude. Her future plans are to attend law school. As a student, her primary involvement at Texas State includes the following:
- Cadet, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps
- Associate Justice, Student Government
- Senator, Student Government
- Supplemental Instructor, SLAC
She earned the 2014-15 Liberal Arts Award for Academic Excellence, graduated from the Military Leadership Development and Achievement Course, is a member of Alpha Chi Honor Fraternity and is the recipient of an Academic Achievement Army ROTC Scholarship.
On December 13, the Department of Political Science held its annual holiday party at Tres Hermanas Restaurant. The faculty, staff and instructional assistants as well as their families in attendance enjoyed delicious food like the famous shrimp diablo and a cookie decorating station for the kids.
Alumni Night (17 November 2015) – Four distinguished alumni of the Department of Political Science visited campus on Tuesday, November 17 and shared their experiences following graduation with junior and seniors nearing completion of their coursework at Texas State University. Sierra Edgar (PS, 2014), April Shaw (PA 2008; MPA 2012), Alecia Mayberry (MLS 2011), and Dianne Hirsch (PS 1982) discussed how they got their first jobs following graduation and offered advice on resumes, the interview process, office politics, and managing social media.
With the world careening into one crisis after another, students from Dr. Gorman's International Organization class met in the department’s Moot Courtroom to stage a Model Security Council debate. Students, representing current member states of the UN Security Council and other invited member states, are debating the Syrian crisis and related terrorist attack in Paris, as well as the crisis in Ukraine and the increasingly tense situation in the South China Sea. Having concluded general debate over the Syrian crisis and the related terrorist attacks in Paris, the Council finished general debate on the Ukraine and the South China sea, and took up substantive debate on resolutions to the Ukrainian crisis.
Students from Dr. Gorman's International Law class litigate the Falkland Islands dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom in the Political Science Department's Moot Courtroom. Judges Collin Magers, Olivia Catalano, Josh Hinojosa, Marcus Verngren and Tasha Zand receive arguments from the Argentina legal team of Liz Riley, Samantha Paul, and Kelli Kennedy and the UK legal team composed of Bre Boss, Gemma Parmar and Gus Chavez. In upcoming class meetings, students will litigate cases involving the International Criminal Court Prosecutor's indictment of President Bashir of Sudan on charges of genocide and war crimes and try a ripening dispute between Bolivia and Chile over Bolivia's access to the Pacific Ocean.
On Thursday, November 19, 2015, a MA in Political Science student, Chase Donnelly, gave a talk at a GrInklings event. His talk explored the impact of social media on regime change. A discussion followed with the faculty and graduate students in attendance.
From November 4th – 7th, our department sent a delegation of students to participate in the Eugene Scassa Mock Organization of American States (ESMOAS) competition at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. In the competition, our students represented the nations of Argentina, Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala. Texas State students brought home many awards. The highlights included: Tara Dees winning Distinguished Ambassador (2nd Place Overall for an individual award) and Team Argentina winning the Distinguished Delegation (2nd Overall team award).
The following is a complete list of the many awards and honors our students received during this Fall’s competition:
Brian Delgado. Selected as Rapporteur. Executive Secretariat for Integral Development.
Kayla McGee. Selected as Rapporteur. Secretariat for Multidimensional Security.
Megan Preibe. Selected as Chair. Secretariat for Multidimensional Security.
Victoria Kadous. Selected to the Student Advisory Committee.
Lindsey Bentley. Distinguished Resolution (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Multidimensional Security.
Lauren Stotler and Ozzie Lopez. Distinguished Budgetary Statement (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Administration and Finance.
Victoria Kadous. Outstanding Resolution (1st Place in Committee). Secretariat for Political for Political Affiars.
Preston Paul. Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Political Affairs.
Gabe Schmidt. Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Multidimensional Security.
Andrew Homann. Co-Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Administration and Finance.
- Stotler. Co-Distinguished Delegate (2nd Place in Committee). Secretariat for Administration and Finance.
Connor Clegg. Co-Outstanding Delegate. (1sr Place in Committee). Executive Secretariat for Integral Development.
Dora Jackson-Wilson. Co-Outstanding Delegate. (1sr Place in Committee). Executive Secretariat for Integral Development.
Tara Dees. Outstanding Delegate (1st Place in Committee). General Committee.
Tara Dees. Distinguished Ambassador. (2nd Place Overall).
Tara Dees, Ashton Thomas, Victoria Kadous, Bobby Mulcihy, Emily Hinze, Haley Barr, Lauren Stotler, and Ozzie Lopez - Team Argentina. Distinguished Delegation (2nd Place Overall).
Dr. Billy Fields was awarded one of the Lafitte Greenway Founding Visionary awards by the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway. Fields was one of 10 urban planners, community members, and academics that were awarded this honor for their efforts to help plan and build the Lafitte Greenway, a significant Hurricane Katrina recovery project through the heart of the New Orleans. awarded one of the Lafitte Greenway Founding Visionary awards by the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway. A group of 10 urban planners, community members, and academics were awarded this honor for efforts to help plan and build the Lafitte Greenway, a significant Hurricane Katrina recovery project through the heart of the New Orleans.
Should soldiers' votes get counted? That's not as easy as you'd think.-- Washington Post Blog piece by Dr. Inbody
Texas State University's Don Inbody has published a post in the Monkey Cage Blog, part of the Washington Post newspaper. Read about the difficulties that overseas military personnel have in attempting to vote.
Read it here.
On Friday, November 6th, two distinguished alumni of the department were on campus to receive “Distinguished Alumni Awards” from President Trauth. The Honorable Oliver Del Cid , Belize’s ambassador to Mexico and Judge Nelva Gonzales-Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas spent the morning in the department where they talked to undergraduate classes and attended a reception for faculty (including a number of their old professors) and graduate students.
The Department of Political Science presented another of its Discourse in Democracy events on Thursday, October 15, 2015. Dr. J. Budziszewski, Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, came to campus to explore the nature, limits and foundations of “True Toleration” and to distinguish it from its various counterfeits.
He conducted two afternoon seminars for small groups of undergraduate and graduate students and that evening delivered a lecture on the topic in Alkek Teaching Theater. Attended by some 200 students, faculty and members of the community, his lecture was followed by responses from Dr. Craig Hanks of the Department of Philosophy, and two members of our political science faculty, Dr. Paul DeHart and Professor Rudy Hernandez. The event master of ceremonies was Dr. Don Inbody.
Watch the evening lecture here.
For more lectures from Dr. Budziszewski check out his website.
On Wednesday, November 28, 2015, the Department of Political Science hosted another successful Inklings gathering. Prof. Rodolfo Hernandez, spoke on Lincoln’s economic policies. Prof. Hernandez emphasized Lincoln’s conception of liberty and how it shaped his policy goals. The lecture was well received and was followed by a discussion with the faculty and graduate students in attendance.
In a July 13, 2015 article by Esquire, Dr. Paul Kens was quoted discussing the Supreme Courts’ decision in the Lochner v. New York case.
As Paul Kens, a leading scholar of the case, explains, "[i]n reading everything I could find on the statute's enactment, I found no evidence that 'powerful unions' or 'big bakeries' took part in passing the bakeshop law."
Click here to view the full article.
As the Spring 2015 semester concluded Texas State faculty, staff, and alumni gathered at the LBJ Student Center to celebrate the achievements of our public administration students. The annual PA Program Honors Reception recognized program and scholarship award recipients and inducted new members into the Public Administration Honor Society, Pi Alpha Alpha. Former Bobcat and current President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Richard Perez spoke at the event. He emphasized the key role that public service plays in creating dynamic and just communities.
Dr. Howard Balanoff presents Mr. Richard Perez with an honorary membership to Pi Alpha Alpha
Hogwild is an annual public policy symposium sponsored by the law firm of the law firm of Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde and Zeck (DNRBHZ), Texas State University’s Center for Research, Public Policy, Training, and the Texas State Department of Political Science. The symposium is designed to provide local government officials and practitioners with an overview of key, contemporary legal issues that impact local governance.
The 2015 event was held on Friday May 29 on the Texas State campus. Hogwild 2015 brought together 130 local government officials and practitioners to engage with legal studies experts in detailed discussions of issues relevant to local Texas governance. The keynote speaker was Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Mayor Parker discussed the difficulties in responding to the recent flooding and the overall complexity of governance.
MPA student Eric Ramirez meets with Governor Abbott during his attendance at the 35th Annual SummerFest Independence Day Celebration in San Marcos.
12 Texas State students -- Melissa Aylward, Tara Dees, Domonique Gray-Berroa, Emily Hinze, Victoria Kadous, Josh Keesee, Nick Pappas, Megan Priebe, Marissa Roman, Gabe Schmidt, Lauren Stotler, and Ashton Thomas -- journeyed to Washington, DC where they participated in the 2015 Washington DC Model Organization of American States representing the Republic of Panama. Undergraduate political science major Marissa Roman was elected Secretary General of the 2016 Washington DC Model Organization of American States (WMOAS). This is the WMOAS’s highest elected office.
On Thursday, March, 12, Texas State University students, faculty, and residents of San Marcos gathered at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos and listened to Bobcat Alum Ambassador Oliver del Cid discuss the current state of Caribbean nations. Ambassador del Cid attended Southwest Texas State University and graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1994. He is currently the ambassador from Belize to Mexico. This event was hosted by the LBJ Museum of San Marcos and the Texas State University Political Science Department.
On Thursday, February 26, dozens of Political Science and International Studies students gathered in a UAC classroom to listen to various issues facing the Middle East, as well as the United States' role in the region. Three faculty members from the Political Science Department, Dr. Arnold Leder, Dr. Robert Gorman, and Dr. Thomas Doyle, led the discussion. The panel was moderated by Dr. Kenneth Grasso, chair of the Department of Political Science. This event was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Pi Sigma Alpha.
On February 9th, the Department of Political Science Discourse in Democracy hosted two seminars and a symposium on the Challenges to Democracy around the world. The Department welcomed panelists Dr. Terri Givens (from University of Texas), Dr. Ayesha Rey (from Kings College), Dr. Omar Sanchez (from Texas State University), and Dr. Laura Seay (from Colby College) to lend their expertise and help guide these discussions. For the evening symposium, nearly 300 Texas State students and faculty gathered in Alkek to listen to and discuss various challenges to democracy.
Students in Dr. Gorman's international law class argue a case in the new Moot Court room in the University Academic Building. Bethany Stewart and Ben Kleiber (left facing the judges) defend Omar Bashir, President of Sudan, against charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes as the Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court, Jessica Altherr and Matthew DePue, present video evidence in an attempt to persuade the ICC Court of Bashir's guilt. The judges hearing the case are Eric Rogers, Emmett Newton (in wigs), along with Jeannette Castro, Mason Pfeiffer, and Jason Montgomery, in the center, acting as court president.