UMBC Political Science and School of Public Policy Faculty React to Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s Retirement Announcement

After Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced her retirement on March 2, reaction poured in from across the country and state of Maryland. UMBC political science and School of Public Policy faculty were interviewed by several local and national media outlets to provide perspective and analysis on Mikulski’s legacy and what the political future will hold after her seat is vacated in 2016.

Roy Meyers (UMBC)In an interview that aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” political science professor Roy Meyers said Sen. Mikulski’s legacy crossed party lines: “Many of the women that came into the Senate and the House, regardless of whether they were Republicans or Democrats, really viewed her as a role model,” he said. Meyers said Mikulski was “a groundbreaker in terms of making sure the voices of women legislators were taken seriously.”

Tom SchallerPolitical science professor Thomas Schaller reflected on Sen. Mikulski’s service to Maryland and the nation in an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun: “She will leave a legacy as one of the state’s most admired politicians and among the most influential women ever to serve in Congress,” Schaller wrote in his column titled “A lifetime spent in service.”

Schaller was also quoted in a Washington Post article about former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision not to run for Mikulski’s seat, saying “I think this makes it pretty clear that he’s going to run for president or at least give it a shot.” Schaller was also mentioned in a Washington Post column by E.J. Dionne on his analysis of the national Republican party in his new book The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Donald Norris UMBCSchool of Public Policy director Donald Norris appeared on WJZ-TV and commented on what could happen in the race to fill the vacated Senate seat: “Who the Republicans field, if they field a very serious, well-funded candidate, the Democrats are going to have to match that. So yes, it could be very expensive,” said Norris. “There could be a huge number of Democrats in the primary,” he added in a Capital Gazette article.

For a list of complete coverage, see below:

Roy Meyers:
Sen. Mikulski, Groundbreaker for Female Legislators, Won’t Seek Re-Election (NPR)

Thomas Schaller:
A lifetime spent in service (Baltimore Sun op-ed)
O’Malley will not run for Mikulski’s U.S. Senate Seat (Washington Post)
The GOP’s big ‘yes’ to ‘no’ (Washington Post)

Donald Norris:
Race to Replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski Wide Open (WJZ-TV)
‘Free-for-all’ expected in wake of Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s retirement announcement (Capital Gazette)

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, in ISN

In an article published February 25 in the International Relations and Security Network Digital Library News, Sunil Dasgupta analyzed the shifting balance of power between the United States and Russia in light of recent events in Ukraine.

Sunil Dasgupta

“Russia’s ability to defy the United States and other Western powers in Ukraine (as well as Moscow’s support of the Syrian and Iranian regimes) since late 2013 has suggested that the period of soft balancing is over. The return of traditional balance of power politics implies that a multipolar world, in which the United States is one of many similarly positioned great powers, may have arrived,” Dasgupta wrote.

Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities of Shady Grove, also noted that the balance of power could be affected by rising powers such as China and India and their decisions whether or not to side with Russia.

“If the road to multipolarity runs through Ukraine, however, not everyone is seeing the same view en route. On the one hand, it is clear that Russia has been able to use economic interdependence, modern technology, and a proxy war strategy to resist the United States and other Western powers. On the other, the dangers of overreach are all too evident. Russia is on the precipice of alienating Europe, revitalizing NATO, and bankrupting itself if energy prices remain low.”

To read the full article titled “Does the Road to a Multipolar World Run through Ukraine,” click here.

Roy Meyers, Political Science, on WYPR’s Maryland Morning

On February 9, WYPR’s Maryland Morning hosted political science professor Roy Meyers to discuss education spending in Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget. Meyers discussed in-depth what K-12 education spending looks like for schools in the proposed budget.

Roy Meyers (UMBC)

“There are two kinds of cuts in the governor’s budget for all the counties and the cities across the board. One cut is the cut in the Geographic Cost of Education Index which under law he is allowed to make in his budget. That’s about $68 million in savings,” said Meyers. “The other savings, about $76 million, is in proposed changes to the law that allocates funds by formula to the 24 local school boards, and the legislature will have to agree to those cuts for those to go into place.”

Over the course of the discussion, Meyers commented on the history behind the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) and how the proposed education spending will affect Baltimore City schools, among other topics.

To listen to the full segment and to hear more in-depth analysis from Meyers, click here.

Arthur Johnson, Political Science, Describes the Sondheim Public Affairs Program in The Faculty Voice

Arthur Johnson, provost emeritus and political science, penned an article in The Faculty Voice about how UMBC’s Walter Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program contributes to the public good. The Faculty Voice is the independent faculty news source in the University System of Maryland.

sondheimIn the article, Johnson outlines the history of the Sondheim Scholars program, the impact of its alumni, and how the program continues to evolve. He emphasizes that public service is not defined by a career in government, but rather a desire to serve others and inspire social change. Johnson also recounted the program’s connection to Walter Sondheim, saying, “Mr. Sondheim’s career was an ideal model for illustrating the values of public service and dedication to the public interest. He is credited with leading Baltimore City school integration in the 1950s and driving the transformation of the Baltimore’s inner harbor…Today, we keep his memory alive by bringing in speakers who knew Walter and worked with him. We want our students to understand what a “life of purpose” looks like and the good it can accomplish, no matter their chosen career path.”

Click here to read “UMBC’s Walter Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program: One Response to the “Quiet Crisis” in Public Service” in The Faculty Voice.

Social Sciences Forum: The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House (2/11)

The StrongholdOn Wednesday, February 11, Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller will present the Social Sciences Forum “The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House,” at 4:30 p.m. in the University Center Room 310.

Once the party of presidents, the GOP in recent elections has failed to pull together convincing national majorities. Republicans have lost four of the last six presidential races and lost the popular vote in five of the last six. Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” set in motion a vicious cycle, Schaller contends: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wing grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. This dangerous loop, unless broken, may signal the future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party. In this talk, UMBC Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller discusses his new book, The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White HouseSchaller is also author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without The SouthFor more information, click here.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

Susannah Prucka, Political Science, and UMBC Students Visit U.S. Supreme Court

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka, an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science, and four UMBC students visited the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 20 to sit in on oral arguments and meet with two of Justice Samuel Alito’s law clerks. The students were part of a fall course titled the “Judicial Process,” in which they studied the judicial branch and judicial decision-making.

William Rice, Lereiya Edmonson, Nelly Waribe, and Ellis Zapas were the students who participated in the visit and are all juniors and political science majors. During their time at the Supreme Court, the students saw oral arguments in two cases: Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar and Armstrong et al. v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., et al. In addition to meeting with Justice Alito’s law clerks, the students also met with Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court Counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General. Mr. Schweitzer and the law clerks discussed their respective roles before the Supreme Court and provided insight on life as an attorney.

During the semester, in studying the judicial process, the students heard from several other speakers in the legal profession: the Honorable James Elyer (retired) of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals; Noel Francisco of Jones Day; Larry Doan of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Michelle Martin of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and Christopher Wheatcroft ’97, political science, of Alperstein & Diener PA.

Susannah Prucka has been an adjunct instructor of political science since 2012, and is an Assistant Attorney General and Appellate Litigator for the State of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland and United States Supreme Court bars.

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, in Eurasia Review

In a recent article published in Eurasia Review, Sunil Dasgupta provided analysis on al-Qaeda’s announcement that it is launching a branch in the Indian Subcontinent. Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities of Shady Grove, examined why a terrorist group with a substantial presence in the region would need to make a formal announcement about activities in that part of the world.

Sunil Dasgupta

“The answer may be an alarming one,” Dasgupta wrote. “The move may be part of a broader strategy to enlist elements of India’s disenchanted Muslim underclass in the service of the group’s global agenda.”

In his column, Dasgupta discussed how Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has shifted its focus to a larger, global scale: “What makes the emergence of AQIS significant, however, is that it is the first time a global jihadi organization has explicitly targeted the governments and the people in the region. The entire Indian subcontinent has seen an extraordinary amount of terrorism in the last 35 years, but most of it was home-grown.”

To read Dasgupta’s full analysis in his column “Al Qaeda in India: Why We Should Pay Attention,” click here. The original article appeared in ISN Security Watch blog.