Allegheny to host national conference

Eylie Buehler , Opinion Editor

The Department of Political Science, the Department of Economics and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the Center for Political Participation will be hosting a conference on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 concerning voting rights and political participation.

The topic of the conference will tie into the annual theme of voting and civil rights at Allegheny this year.

Brian Harward, a professor in the department of political science, played a large role in planning the conference.

Harward said the conference will be two days of student presentations, workshops and speeches from keynote scholars and policymakers.

“It’s a culmination of events, discussions and activities that the Year of Voting Rights and Democratic Participation [as well as its predecessor, the Year of Civil Rights] helped to cultivate around campus,” Harward said.

“The conference will provide a context for students to share their ideas in a public forum, to engage with each other and the keynoters and enjoy the experience of turning what is quite often a rather private enterprise into a public good.”

Zachary Callen, a professor of political science, will attend the conference and be a member of one of the several panels.

“The theme is voting rights but very broadly understood,” Callen said.  “It’s not just legal or political science it’s philosophy, it can be about math so voting is an aggregation of opinions…we were open to points of view that thought about biology or neuroscience.  We tried to cast a wide net.”

Callen said the goal of the conversations that will take place will be to update the ideas and views on voting rights.

“We wanted to empathize that these issues are ongoing concerns.  People still have issues with voting here and internationally and there are really different fascists of it,” Callen said.

“We could be talking about gender we could be talking about sexuality or cognition.  There are all of these types of things going on so we want to make the conversation broad and current. And, we want to hear what students have to say.”

Callen said he hopes that the students who attend will feel as though their thoughts, opinions and ideas have been heard and have been taken seriously when they walk away from the event.

“I hope [students] can take away that they have stuff to say and that people want to hear it,” Callen said. “These are all things that we need to talk about as a campus and as a country.”

Hanna Hebert, ’15, a CPP fellow, said she has been involved in the planning and organizing of the conference.

“I have been speaking with students that are presenting to answer questions and give advice. I have also worked on the logistics of the conference, like reserving things. Finally, the fellows are charged with directing attendees to various locations, dealing with registration and attending all of the panels to help with problems that may arise,” Hebert said.

A list of events and speakers can be found on My Allegheny.