University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Amel Ahmed, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Campus Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, has been announced as the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Program Co-Chair for its 2019 Annual Meeting. As Co-Chair, Professor Ahmed is responsible for arranging for high-profile speakers and creating a productive intellectual environment where academics and policy makers can exchange ideas, scholars can rise above disciplinary boundaries, and members of the profession can network. Professor Ahmed’s selection as one of the two co-chairs from an international pool of political scientists speaks to her demonstrated leadership as well as her expertise and excellent scholarship in the 2019 Meeting Theme.

Paul M. Collins, political science and director of legal studies, is interviewed about what questions are likely to be put to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. (CNN, 9/3/18)

Collins also says that Brett Kavanaugh is avoiding answering questions during his confirmation hearings in a predictable pattern. Adding that it is odd that Kavanaugh hasn’t recused himself from any possible decisions about Trump’s assertion of executive power to issue pardons or to impede the special counsel’s investigation into the 2016 campaign. (Time, 9/6/18)

Adam Fauerbach with Marty Meehan

When Political Science Major Adam Fauerbach took on an internship as a sophomore at KGlobal, he didn't anticipate meeting his future mentor and launching a promising career in Washington D.C. Now, he is an Account Associate at a leading communications and public affairs firm. 

Jane Fountain, Distinguished Professor of political science and public policy and director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government for 2018 by global policy platform Apolitical. She was one of 14 men and women selected from the category of academia.

Raymond J. La Raja, comments in a story about the lack of diversity in the Massachusetts legislature: “It’s a bigger hill to climb for a challenge in Massachusetts than other places,” La Raja says.

Brian F. Schaffner, political science, commenting in a news story about how progressive Democrats are working to boost voter turnout in the upcoming mid-term elections, says voter participation is one of the keys to success. “If 2016 had happened with the same voter turnout patterns as 2012 then [Hillary] Clinton would have won. Clearly turnout can influence outcomes,” Schaffner says. 

Paul Musgrave writes an op-ed in The Washington Post where he argues that conspiracy theories, including the QAnon theory that has recently been getting a lot of media attention, are for losers. He says the fact that people who support Donald Trump are believing in this conspiracy theory show that Trumpism is built on the politics of resentment. (8/2/18)

Musgrave also comments in a story about how President Donald J. Trump’s willingness to meet with other foreign leaders without strict preconditions is emerging as one of his better instincts. (7/31/18)

Paul Musgrave is interviewed on Connecting Point about The North Atlantic Treaty Organization—or NATO. But what caused the formation of this nearly 70-year-old alliance and why is it so important to world affairs? (7/8/18)

Rebecca E. Hamlin, political science, is interviewed on Connecting Point about efforts by some politicians and immigrant advocates to defund the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Hamlin says the agency was created in response to the 9/11 attacks but the federal government has had such an enforcement arm for much of its history. 

Sheldon Goldman, political science, says President Donald J. Trump has been very successful in getting conservative judges appointed to the federal courts. “From the conservative perspective, it is a great triumph, a great victory,” Goldman says. “Trump may talk about great success with North Korea or Russia and the like. We know that’s not credible, but when he talks about the judiciary, that credible. He has made a great difference. It’s an absolute phenomenon, really.”

A news story looking at the lack of diversity in the field of candidates running for the newly created Amherst Town Council cites data from a study of the town’s voters and members of Town Meeting conducted in 2014 by Ray La Raja, political science, and Wouter Van Erve, a doctoral student in political science. One of the few renters and young people running for the council is Amherst native John Page, 21, who will be a UMass Amherst senior next year. (Gazette, 7/17/18)