Town Hall Meeting Discusses Pertinent Foreign Policy Issues

A Town Hall meeting discussing foreign policy issues pertinent in the 2016 US presidential election occurred Tuesday, April 19 at 6 pm in the Lane University Center Atkinson room.

Tim Magrath, a political science instructor and Executive Director of the and Beall Institute for Public Affairs, highlighted the significance of civic engagement as the basis of democratic society.

“We’re here at college ultimately to get a job, but also to become better citizens…and make the world a better place,” says Magrath. “And that starts with civic engagement.”

Magrath led students in a discussion of foreign policy issues that figure prominently in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Brad Kroner/TBL)
Magrath led students in a discussion of foreign policy issues that figure prominently in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Brad Kroner/TBL)

Roughly thirty students attended, as well as faculty and staff, including Dr. Twing of the Political Science department and Dr. Terri Massie-Burrell, director of the Center for Academic Advising and Retention.

The foreign policy discussion was the second in a series of meetings this semester. The first, which focused on domestic issues, was held on March 22. The final event in the series this semester will be a caucus night on April 19.

This is the third semester Town Hall meetings have been held. They are made possible by the Office of Civic Engagement, the J Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs, and SGA. The J Glenn Beall Institute’s aim is to engage students in public affairs.

The Town Hall meetings are an “experiment in democracy,” according to Magrath.

Marquis Patterson, a junior, stated that the Town Hall meetings “catch you up on what’s going on” and is a place to learn about different issues. He continued on to explain that the meetings have inspired him to learn more. According to Magrath, this is significant because “democracy requires informed participation.”

A variety of topics were covered – from ISIS and Syrian refugees, to global warming, to North Korea. Although discussion between students was lively and a variety of viewpoints were expressed, no consensus on potential policy solutions were reached.

Engagement and education are the goals of the Town Hall meetings.

“We encourage all our students – not just law and society and political science majors – to engage in democracy in the hope that it will encourage other students to come and engage,” said Magrath.

“We hope to have better informed students,” Magrath concluded. “Choices should be made on informed decisions, not the latest soundbyte.”

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend the third and final Town Hall meeting of the semester, the culmination of this semester’s meetings, which will be a mock caucus.


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