The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science, is quoted in an article about an open letter that he and over 100 other academics signed, in reaction to Republican efforts to pass new voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election.  The letter warns that American democracy is at risk because of the restrictive nature of the new laws, which are being supported by Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country. Theodoridis says “We’ve just witnessed, through [former president Donald] Trump’s big lie, an effort to overturn a free and fair election. And it seems like there are a lot of efforts going on out there in various states to, instead of making it more difficult to overturn the will of the voters, [make] it easier, and that’s very concerning.” (Globe, 6/1/21)

This year, persistent UMass Amherst undergraduates adapted to COVID-19 restrictions as they engaged in research, exercised their creativity, and elevated their campus and community. They found ways to thrive, working on campus when permitted and capitalizing on remote research, learning, volunteer, and experiential opportunities. Nine students were named spring 2021 UMass Amherst Rising Researchers, including Political Science Major Claire Healy '21, Commonwealth Honors College. In her first year at UMass, Claire Healy had a grand vision. What if there was an international, multilingual magazine that could create community among young people across borders? The magazine would publish poets, writers, artists, and journalists and its audience would experience a diverse collective of perspectives, artwork, and languages. The first issue of Claire’s dream magazine, The Open, will be published before she graduates from UMass in May. She produced it on a focused foundation of four years of coursework, internships, study abroad, and extracurricular work. (SBS News, 5/25/2021)

Charli Carpenter, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, has written a column exploring the “precision” of explosives used during urban warfare – a description that she says is a fallacy – following the recent increased fighting between Israel and Hamas. (World Politics Review, 5/28/21)

UMass Poll results are cited in a column countering the continuing attempts by Republicans to blame the political left for the January 6, 2021 violence at the U.S. Capitol. As part of the poll, respondents were asked their thoughts on who bore responsibility for the attack, and a plurality pointed at former President Trump. (The Washington Post, 5/28/21; News Office release)

Siddhant Issar will be joining the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia in the Fall for a two-year appointment as a Rising Scholar Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Associate. Congratulations Siddhant!

Jamie Rowen, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst, writes about the effects of the pandemic on veterans. Rowen explains eight ways in which the pandemic continues to threaten veterans: age and other vulnerabilities; benefits unfairly denied or delayed; diminished access to health care; the potential for worsening mental health; complications for homeless veterans and those in the justice system; disability benefits delayed; dangerous residential facilities; and economic catastrophe. (The Conversation, 5/27/21)

Paul Collins contributed to an article in Newsweek about the Supreme Court's latest abortion case. Collins said that Trump's appointees "seem comfortable with overruling precedents they feel were wrongly decided" and this could include Roe v. Wade. However, he believes the Court could limit itself when it comes to a ruling. "Look for Chief Justice Roberts to push the Court's conservative members to rule narrowly on the case to avoid controversy," Collins told Newsweek. (Newsweek, 5/20/2021)

Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in an opinion piece about the changing views of Republicans in Congress about the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.  He says, “The half-life of January 6 memory has proven remarkably short given the objectively shocking nature of what took place at the Capitol that day …  There is now seemingly no limit to the ability of partisans to see the world through thick, nearly opaque red and blue colored lenses.” The article also cites a national UMass Poll conducted April 21-23, on which 45% of respondents said that former President Trump was most responsible for the January 6 attack. (The New York Times, 5/19/21)

The Center for Justice, Law, and Societies is pleased to announce its inaugural class of Graduate Fellows. Fellows will participate in a year-long program to develop an interdisciplinary academic project related to justice, law and societies, and will receive conference funding, mentorship, and professionalization trainings. Congratulations to Lilliam Fiallo and Chris Bailey, two department members who received this honor!

Arta Snipe and Jamie Rowen's article on "The Promise and Perils of Urban Land Redistribution in Latvia" reveals the importance of considering the social and political meanings of property in efforts to redress past wrongs. The article began as a collaboration when Arta Snipe, a Latvian lawyer, was a visiting Fullbright scholar in fall 2019. (Oxford Academy, 5/18/2021)