U of L Provost hosts panel to discuss presidential succession Wednesday, Jan 20 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville Provost Beth Boehm hosted a forum on Jan. 12 that was focused on the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and what to expect going forward.

The conversation was held virtually and moderated by Brandeis School of Law Dean Colin Crawford. The panelists included Vice President for University Advancement Jasmine Farrier, visiting professor at the Brandeis School of Law Eugene Mazo, and political science chair and professor Jason Gainous.

The forum began with a chance for each of the panelists to give an opening statement. Farrier started her statement with a glimpse into her scholarly perspective on political theory. “When I was in college, as an undergraduate, I found political theory to be fascinating because political theory asks everyone to think about what humans are made of,” Farrier said.

“When humans form community, we get the good and the bad. We get power, we get strength, we also get victimized,” she said. “We also have to realize that society can only survive if you treat the losers with dignity and with fairness.”

She continued her statement by discussing the constitution and what it means to apply this very old document to modern life. She also discussed her particular area of interest, separation of power and how that topic related to the current political moment in terms of the limitations on a president and the limitations on Congress.

Mazo began by discussing his background and how it led to his interest in democracy.

“I am a scholar of the law of democracy. This comes out of my personal heritage. My parents were refugees who moved here from an authoritarian country and so I have never taken our democracy for granted and I’ve spent my professional career studying it,” Mazo said. “I’m interested in what it means to have a democracy. I’m interested in how democracies are created, how they function, and how democratic disputes are resolved, in this country at least, by the courts, and what tools the courts use to resolve those disputes.”

He went on to discuss the factors that made the 2020 presidential elections different from any other. Mazo said that the pandemic had a tremendous impact on the way elections were conducted this year and brought up numerous challenges related to the voting system that states had to resolve.

He also pointed out that this presidential election was unlike any other in the recent history of the United States because one of the candidates refused to concede the election and now a large amount of Americans feel like the election was stolen. Mazo concluded his introductory statement by posing the question: “What should we do as a society to move forward and to begin to heal after the events of last week, or should we say, after the events of last year?”

The last panelist to give an opening statement was Gainous, who began his statement by discussing how his area of interest fits into the focus of the forum.

“What is fascinating in studying information effects across time is that we started off as scholars of information technology believing that the internet was going to be a democratizing force,” Gainous said. “It was going to open up avenues for communication between citizens and legislators, it was going to break the chains of censorship in autocratic contexts. We thought all of this to be true, and what we found, across time is that we were wrong.”

Gainous continued to say that the current environment of the internet makes it possible for people to keep themselves in their own little bubbles and leads them to surrounding themselves with information that reinforces whatever they want to believe. He then went on to make the case that storming the capitol would have made sense if the people involved were correct in their beliefs.

“I believe that the storming of the capitol, in many ways, is a completely rational behavior. It seems completely crazy and irrational to us, but when I say rational, if indeed the things that these people believe have happened, then that seems like the American thing to do. We’ve done that across the course of our history. The problem is that the things that they believe are not true,” Gainous said.

The panelists then moved on to the questions and answers section of the discussion where they discussed numerous legal options available to Congress and the president in the remaining days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The moderator began this discussion by asking Farrier about the possibility of the president issuing a self-pardon. Farrier responded that it wasn’t clear if the pardon could be used this way, and even if it can, this would only clear the president of federal crimes he may have committed and not prevent him from being charged in any particular state.

Mazo was then asked if he believed the lawsuits the president’s administration brought up related to the election were frivolous and what purpose they serve, if any. He replied by saying that he believed many of the lawsuits to be frivolous, but some of them were founded on reasonable legal theory, they just weren’t filed in the correct way.

Farrier was then asked if the fact that Trump appointed judges refused to hear his case was surprising. She replied that it wasn’t surprising because judges tend to be careful about keeping their legitimacy instead of leaning in an overtly partisan way.

Gainous also went on to argue that if the point of filing the lawsuits was to get people to believe the election was fraudulent, then they were successful. He said that just the filing of the lawsuits, even though nothing came of them, was enough to convince many Trump supporters that the election was fraudulent.

The panel went onto discuss impeachment, censure, expulsion, and eliminating eligibility from office. The day after this panel took place, Trump became the first president to be impeached twice.

The full forum can be found on the U of L Alumni Facebook page.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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President Bendapudi appoints new vice president for University Advancement Friday, Jul 24 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced on July 22 that Jasmine Farrier has been appointed as the vice president for University Advancement. Farrier will begin in this new position on Aug. 1.

The vacant position was left by Bradley Shafer who announced that he would resign in order to move closer to his family.

“In looking to fill the position, I sought someone who would be authentic in telling the UofL story, who would build important relationships with all members of the Cardinal family, and who had established a proven record of delivering positive results,” Bendapudi said. “Dr. Farrier meets and surpasses all these criteria.”

Farrier is a political science graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Ph.D. in government from the Univesity of Texas at Austin. She has been a part of U of L’s political science faculty since 2002 and became chair of the department in 2018. She believes that her experience as political science chair will guide her in her new role.

“Being POLS chair showed me that our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters want the same thing – across partisan lines, generations, and geography — a vibrant community that knows how to collaborate for our beloved U of L,” Farrier said.

“Our alumni and community partners want to help all U of L students build their resumes as they earn degrees. That’s how we build social capital for every student regardless of background.”

The University Advancement Office is responsible for fundraising, marketing and alumni relations.

Farrier has experience working with alumni because of the Political Science Alumni Council, which she helped establish. “The Council worked to support current students internships in Washington, D.C. and these experiences will propel those students toward future employment opportunities,” she said.

Farrier’s vision for the university is a future where the university supports and nurtures its students who will in turn graduate and become successful alumni who will make it possible to recruit and support more students.

“I also want to help our University grow closer to all economic facets of the city, Commonwealth, and region. Across the US, economic development is often tied to University expansion and a well-educated/high-skilled population,” Farrier said.  “The University of Louisville plays an essential role in the economic success of the city, region and Commonwealth.”

Farrier looks forward to beginning this new position and expressed gratitude towards the university, “This university took a chance on me straight out of graduate school with just a promise of future success. I am motivated by this gratitude every day and eager for this expanded opportunity to give back.”

Photo Courtesy//The University of Louisville

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COVID-19: A lesson on compassion and innovation Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Brandon Cooper —

It goes without saying that the the everpresent outbreak of COVID-19 has shaken up everyone’s lives in one way or another.

Despite all of the craziness and hysteria ensuing every day, one thing stays the same: the bold compassion and determination of U of L students, faculty, staff and family.

There is no denying the abrupt and total transition to online learning for all courses was overwhelming for all parties involved. However, the compassionate approach to this transition by university administrators and educators has significantly weakened the blow to this huge obstacle for many students’ academic achievement.

Professors have empathized with their students by expanding their flexibility on deadlines, extending additional resources and implementing an abundance of innovative digital learning resources. This kind of compassion and pure niceness is not universal at all universities across the country, so U of L students are extremely lucky to have understanding professors that recognize the stressfulness of this unique situation.

Jasmine Farrier, professor & chair of political science, said she would accept any form of a written assignment from a student that has difficulties obtaining computer and internet access away from their campus home. “Even by text,” she said.

Farrier also encourages students to communicate with their instructors, emphasizing the importance of students consistently advocating for their personal needs during this time. She said, “If we can help, we will – and quickly.”

The coronavirus has brought to light various opportunities available for digital education resources.

Looking forward, these resources should not be viewed as back-up plans, but rather resources that can expand the great opportunities and accessibility that U of L has to offer to a larger population.

In order to incorporate the new-found resources into ordinary use, costs need to be evaluated for online instruction provided by the university. For a regular semester without a global health pandemic, online courses are charged at a higher rate of tuition than the in-person classes.

Yet, when in-person classes were canceled, these same courses were provided online to students without increased tuition rates. 

The compassion and understanding toward students that the university’s employees are showing in the face of this pandemic is fantastic.

However, the university proved there is no reason for online courses to be more expensive besides the fact that it will generate more revenue. While desperate times call for desperate measures, U of L should make online courses more affordable even without a virus outbreak forcing them to.

Although COVID-19 has been a bump in the road, compassionate and student-centric approaches to accessibility will light the path to universal success going forward. 

Expanding the resource options and increasing the use of such, while also engaging in compassion and empathy driven instructional attitudes, will lead to the success of not just students – but every member of the U of L family.  

As the world moves away from the disruptions caused by this virus, let’s urge university administration and other decision makers to continue deploying compassionate and innovative resources that ensure success to every member of the Cardinal family.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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