A panel of politically minded professors will host a discussion panel tonight to unpack the highly contentious issues driving the presidential race.
Six professors – drawn from the law and society, economics and political science departments – will analyze the most pressing issues of the election from 7 to 9 p.m. in Embarcadero Hall. The discussion aims to sort through the politics of the race and to reveal the facts and potential impacts of the policies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Each professor will have approximately 10 minutes to explain election topics pertinent to their particular field of study. The last half hour will be reserved for a question and answer period.
Event organizer Scott McDonald, a fourth-year history, anthropology and classics major, said many voters remain confused or entirely unaware of many aspects of each candidate’s platform. He urged those left uncertain by the debates to attend the event and seek out more concrete answers.
“No matter who you are voting for, I think a lot of people are like me and are just sick of a lot of the fluff and bull … that came out of the debates,” McDonald said. “This event is a great way to cut straight to the actual policy differences between Obama and McCain, as well as a chance for students to ask questions about the types of issues that haven’t really been addressed thus far in the campaign.”
John T. Wooley, a political science professor and panel moderator, said the upcoming election is of grave importance considering the current state of the nation.
“It’s rare for people to have a strong feeling that they are living through a momentous time,” Wooley said. “This looks like a very consequential election.”
With voters facing issues such as the mortgage crisis, the Iraq War, abortion rights and gay marriage, Wooley said a candidate’s position on just one of these crucial issues could be enough to garner a vote.
“To voters, the most important thing [is] whether they can get a sense of each candidate’s priorities,” Wooley said. “I think that comes through clearly enough, even if their numbers don’t all add up.”
While the university boasts a record number of registered student voters, McDonald said it remains a focus of many groups to ensure that students have resources available to remain informed about the issues pertinent to their lives and futures.
“UCSB has done an amazing job registering voters through the efforts of A.S. and several other organizations,” McDonald said. “We thought it was also our responsibility to help provide resources for students to get informed and hopefully excited enough about the issues that they will show up to the polls on Nov. 4, and we think this event can be an important part of that effort.”