Tufts' Political Experts and Students to Set the Scene for the Second Obama/Romney Debate

"Engage the Debate" on Oct. 16 will invite vigorous exchange as young voters are expected to have a pivotal role in the election's outcome
October 9, 2012

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Alexander Reid

Katie Cinnamond Benoit

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. –Tufts University will hold a pre-debate public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to enable students, faculty and members of the public to better evaluate what they hear when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney resume their war of words that same night. 

Tufts Provost and Senior Vice President David R. Harris, an expert on race and ethnicity, social stratification, and public policy, will moderate the discussion that will include experts on politics and international affairs. The presidential debate will focus on foreign and domestic issues.

Tufts' two-hour forum, which is free to the public, will take place at 6:30 pm. in the ASEAN Auditorium in the Cabot Intercultural Center at the Fletcher School, on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus immediately before the debate. Tufts will air the presidential debate in the auditorium following the panel.  A voter registration booth just outside the auditorium will enable students and other attendees to enroll to vote.

The forum will provide members of the news media with an opportunity to talk with several hundred politically conscious students who have followed the election campaigns and are certain to have opinions about the debate.  Media who wish to attend should contact Alex Reid.

Both presidential candidates, as well as senatorial contenders Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, are vying for the youth vote. Four years ago, Barack Obama relied heavily on young voters in his victorious campaign for the White House. Today, the impact and opinions of this voting bloc are potentially just as enormous.

"We intend this panel to be a way for the community to obtain unbiased information that will help them understand and assess what they hear in the presidential debate," said Harris.

The panel will include:

  •     The Role of Race, Religion and Class: James Glaser, dean for academic affairs and professor of political science in Tufts School of Arts and Sciences
  •     The Significance of Health Care: Edith Balbach, director of Tufts community health program and senior lecturer in the American studies department in the School of Arts and Sciences
  •     International Relations and Foreign Policy: Richard Eichenberg, associate professor of political science in the School of Arts and Sciences
  •     International Competition and Job Creation: Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs at Tufts' Fletcher School
  •     Media Management: How Both Campaigns Will Seek to Influence Media Coverage of the Debate: Sarah Sobieraj, associate professor of sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences

The forum highlights Tufts' long-standing tradition of promoting civic engagement and political participation. Tufts student groups will be holding voter registration drives and organizing get out the vote efforts. The groups involved include Tufts Democrats, Tufts Republicans, and the non-partisan group Institute for Political Citizenship.

For directions to the Oct. 16 forum go to: http://campusmaps.tufts.edu/medford/

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university is widely encouraged.

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