Constitution Day Focus: Polarized Politics

Sep 02, 2019

Cal U will hold two events on Sept. 17-18: 'Uncivil Wars: The New Normal' and 'Uncivil Wars: Fake News.'

constitution day

Is a polarized political environment the new normal, or is there hope for a return to civility? 

This question will be examined when Cal U observes Constitution Day with two events Sept. 17-18. 

“Uncivil Wars: The New Normal?” is the title of a panel discussion at 11 a.m. Sept. 17 in Eberly Hall 110. 

On Sept. 18, William Meloy and Loring Prest, faculty members in Cal U’s Department of Library Services, will conduct an interactive session, “Uncivil Wars: Fake News,” at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. in Manderino Library 208. 

Faculty panelists on Sept. 17 include Dr. Sheri Boyle (Social Work); Dr. Justin Hackett (Psychology); and Drs. Joe Heim, Sean Madden, Michael Slaven, and Laura Tuennerman, all from the Department of History, Politics, Society, and Law. 

Event coordinator Dr. Melanie Blumberg, director of the American Democracy Project at Cal U, will serve as the moderator. Students will be encouraged to voice their policy concerns during the discussion. 

"Most college students do not remember the time when officeholders of different partisan stripes treated one another with respect or when public policy resulted from bargaining and compromise,” Blumberg said. “Politics today is marked by heated rhetoric, name calling, and tweet storms. 

“Good policy seldom results from a polarized political environment.” 

During their presentations, the librarians will share practical tips for detecting and avoiding so-called “fake news,” particularly as it impacts today’s divisive political environment. 

Participants will learn new strategies for guarding against misleading information and engaging in reasoned and civil political discourse.   

Meloy is chair and associate professor of the Department of Library Services and the research and electronic collections librarian. Prest, a past department chair, is a professor and electronic resources librarian. 

This year’s Constitution Day program is an American Democracy Project initiative sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of History, Politics, Society, and Law.