The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Amel Ahmed, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, participated as a panelist for "Debate Defends Democracy," a virtual discussion of constitutional issues and the Bill of Rights presented by the Conservancy at Federal Hall. The topic was “Democracy & The Electoral College.”  Other panelists included Wilfred Codrington,  Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, and Jesse Wegman, editorial board member of The New York Times. (Debate Defends Democracy, 10/27/20)

A research team including Charles Schweik (Professor in the School of Public Policy & Department of Environmental Conservation) and Brenda Bushouse (Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy), both of UMass Amherst, has been awarded $3.4 million in grants from the National Science Foundation’s Growing Convergence Research program for their project, “Jumpstarting Successful Open-Source Software Projects with Evidence-based Rules and Structures.” The Project will discern the socio-technical structural and governance conditions under which internet-based open-source software (OSS) projects are most, and least, effective, and provide actionable knowledge to OSS developers and to the nonprofit organizations that support them.


The 22nd annual virtual International ADR Cyberweek will run from November 2 to November 6, 2020.  The event is hosted by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, located in the Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science at UMASS Amherst. The schedule of events will include panel presentations, webinars, online dispute resolution simulations, discussion forums, platform demos, interviews, and a virtual social hour.

In an article in The Conversation, Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst, writes that Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court highlights the ways interest groups use the legal system to pursue their goals.  Collins also predicts that Barrett “will continually face pressure campaigns from groups trying to shape the direction of American law.”

Alasdair Roberts, Director of the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst, discusses his view that the current model of governance — what he calls the “Reagan-Clinton model” — leaves the country unprepared to efficiently respond to a crisis like the current pandemic. He argues that such management policies - for lean, ‘just-in-time’ response -  are “great when everything is going well but awful when things go off the rails.” 

Governor Charlie Baker said he opposes ranked-choice voting as proposed in Massachusetts ballot question 2. A UMass Amherst/WCVB Poll finds that 48% of voters are in favor of the measure, 43% are opposed, and 9% are undecided.

Timothy Pachirat, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, recently co-organized a conference on industrialized animal agriculture and planetary health at Yale University: "Industrialized Livestock Production, Fish Farming, Global Climate Change, and Global Health". Details about the conference can be found here.

Professor Brenda Bushouse, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at UMass Amherst, was quoted in Western Mass News as saying, “In 2008 when Barack Obama was elected, I saw a huge shift in my undergraduate students. They were alert, they were aware, asking questions and getting involved in a new way, so I saw it start there and it’s only increased.”  Two UMass Amherst students were also quoted about their excitement over voting in the upcoming election. Sophomore Marie Maher said, “I’m really excited to be able to voice my opinion, considering I haven’t been able to for the last 18 years,” and added that college has been a great place to learn about politics. Sophomore Linnea Kelley said, “We’re very lucky that we’re able to [vote] so this is important for all of us to take this opportunity to vote.”  (Western Mass News, 10/27/20)

Ray La Raja comments in an interview with Tom Edsall of NY Times about prospects for Biden presidency and holding together the Democratic Party. (New York Times, 10/21)

Ray La Raja writes about the unconventional perspective how money in politics really matters and what to do about it. (Books & Ideas, College de France, 10/21)

A recent article about the lack of enthusiasm among young American voters citing research by Meredith Rolfe, political science, is re-published.