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By Charli Carpenter
During the Bush-era “war on terror,” detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and numerous other detention sites were tortured through such techniques as beating, stress positions, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, sexual assault, subjection to extreme heat or extreme cold, and confinement in small coffin-like boxes. During the Obama administration, deadly drone strikes targeted men and teenage boys merely suspected of crimes, killing numerous civilians—and even allegedly engaging in double-tap strikes of first responders. Read more here.

Meredith Loken is a 2019-2020 non-resident Fellow with the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Modern War Institute is a research center at West Point devoted to the study of contemporary conflict. 

Anthony Rentsch, Political Science B.A. 2018, is lead author on this article that was just accepted for publication at Public Opinion Quarterly. The article, co-authored by Brian F. Schaffner and Justin H. Gross, grew out of Anthony's honors thesis in the Department of Political Science. (The link will be shared once it is available online).

by Jackie Brousseau-Pereira

It’s mid-August and colleges are getting reading for the arrival of new and returning students. Those of us who work on these campuses try to help the incoming first year class get acclimated to college. We also recognize that it’s challenging to expect students to listen to us when most of us haven’t been in their shoes for many years.

Charli Carpenter travels to Texas to talk to the men and women working at detention facilities.

In early August, I walked through an open gate at the Paso del Norte detention facility in El Paso, one of the more notorious detention facilities for refugees on the southern border, and began talking to the guards. One of them threatened me and a colleague with arrest, but he was an outlier. Some of them were standoffish, but even those unwilling to answer questions were mostly polite and engaging. One man even told me he appreciated the chance to dialogue with a fellow American in a human way. (The American Prospect, 8/19/19)

Ethics problems in the technology industryincluding concerns about privacy, sexism, racism and lack of representationcannot be solved simply by teaching more humanities courses to future tech leaders, writes Paul Musgrave.

While many Americans believe the U.S. is the most powerful, richest and advanced society on Earth in many ways the U.S. is a “middle-of-the-pack” country, writes Paul Musgrave. 

A team of researchers including Elizabeth Sharrow, assistant professor of political science and history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has received a three-year ADVANCE Partnership Award totaling more than $1 million from the National Science Foundation to implement a project to address sexual harassment in the field of political science.

Jacob Binnall, a graduate student at the School of Public Policy, has been sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve on the UMass Board of Trustees, as student trustee for the Amherst campus. The UMass system is governed by a 22-member board that represents various interests of the public at large on a non-partisan basis. Seventeen members of the board are appointed by the governor and the five UMass students are elected by the student body on each of the five campuses. Binnall is in SPP’s 4+1 Master of Public Policy program. A first-generation college student, he received his bachelor’s in political science and legal studies in May.

An article about the top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ positions on foreign policy quotes Paul Musgrave. He says former Vice President Joe Biden is running as the “Obama candidate,” with the belief that the United States and its institutions may need some fixing but are basically sound. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders take the stance that the U.S. and its institutions need to be reformed in order to reduce the concentration of wealth globally. (Al Jazeera, 7/30/19)

Professor Musgrave was recently featured on Connecting Point. Following eight weeks of unrest, tensions in Hong Kong boiled over this weekend. Hong Kong protesters clashed with authorities leading to more than 60 arrests. The protests have been condemned by China’s central government, which assumed control of the former British colony in 1997. What’s behind the unrest in Hong Kong, and what does the future hold? (Connecting Point, 7/29/19.

Tenzin Dawa Thargay, a 2018 UMass Amherst graduate from the Department of Political Science, has been awarded a fellowship worth $8,500 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Thargay is one of 58 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.

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