2009-2010 Academic Year

SCAG Regional Conference & General Assembly: Fixing California

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This discussion will outline the public policy challenges facing the state as well as the regional and international policy necessities that Los Angeles faces as a result of our unique geographic, demographic, cultural and professional standings. “Fixing California” seeks to re-establish Los Angeles as the unofficial capitol of the Pacific Rim by addressing local and regional concerns through cooperative efforts with those individuals and organizations that represent the wide-ranging interests that populate the Southland. 



Election 2010 - Who pays?  Who decides?  A Guide for the Spring Ballot Initiatives

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A discussion, moderated by Dan Schnur, about ballot initiatives that will appear on the June 2010 ballot. Proposition 14 creates "open primaries" and eliminates party-specific primaries. Proposition 15 approves the "California Fair Elections Act" which creates public financing for political campaigns. 



Students Talk Back – Bush, Obama, & War: A Guide to U.S. Involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

U.S. troops are gradually pulling out of Iraq, with a full withdrawal targeted for the end of the year yet our military presence in Afghanistan is expanding. President Obama has promised to bring peace and stability to the Middle East, will that commitment help him with voters who recognize the danger still exists, or hurt him with those who want our troops to return home? 



USC Political Science and International Relations Faculty Reception 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Co-sponsor: USC Department of Political Science
The purpose of the event is to honor all Political Science and International Relations faculty. It will also provide an opportunity for faculty in two closely-related fields to get to know one another in a casual setting within an important location on the university’s campus. 

Co-sponsor: USC Department of Political Science
The purpose of the event is to honor all Political Science and International Relations faculty. It will also provide an opportunity for faculty in two closely-related fields to get to know one another in a casual setting within an important location on the university’s campus. 



Students Talk Back - Health Care: What Happens Next?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Sunday night, the House of Representatives passed historic and sweeping legislation that will dramatically reform the nation's health care system. Will Obama benefit politically from the bill's passage? How about Democrats up for re-election this fall? Can Republicans use the issue to win back seats in Congress, or will they look like they're standing in the way of progress? 


Republicans v Democrats Debate - Resolved: President Obama’s Policy has been Ineffective at Combating Terrorism?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Resolved: President Obama’s policies been ineffective at combating terrorism? The fourth annual debate will feature the USC College Republicans advocating the affirmative and the USC College Democrats the negative.



Students Talk Back – The Battle for the US Senate: Can Barbara Boxer hold off the Republicans?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three-term California Senator Barbara Boxer is facing a difficult reelection campaign this fall. Who will the Republicans pick to face Boxer, and how will their challenger position himself or herself against her? How will the incumbent defend her record? 


Students Talk Back  – The Tea Party Movement: Populism, Politics, and Anger

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Tea Party Movement is now arguably the most powerful populist force in U.S. politics in two decades yet they have no elected leadership. Can one party or the other co-opt the Tea Party anger for their own parties as the 2010 midterm election season begins to heat up? Is this a third party movement?



Sacramento Legislative Seminar 2010

February 28-March 1, 2010

Twenty-nine students travel to California’s Capitol to learn about the “behind the scenes” of politics from political, policy and government leaders with the opportunity to meet and interact with the executive and legislative leaders who shape the laws and policies of California. 


Students Talk Back – Whatever Happened to Health Care Reform?  Can Obama & Republicans Find Common Ground?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Many on the left argue that getting Republican support for healthcare reform will be impossible while many on the right argue that an agreement on healthcare is impossible because Democrats refuse to compromise. Is a nationally televised summit the appropriate forum to address these critical concerns? Will the President’s health care summit lead to the passage of a reform bill that a majority of Americans support? Moderated by a representative of The Daily Trojan; and Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics. 


Panelist for Pepperdine Policy Day

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unruh Institute Director Dan Schnur participated in an afternoon lunch and panel discussion with key elected and senior civic leaders and experts in California’s legislative process. Entitled “Policy Day: California’s Initiative Process Revisited,” this event promises to be an interesting and invigorating afternoon of discussion and friendship. Sponsored by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, with generous support from John, George, and Bonnie Thomas. 


Students Talk Back – Prisons vs. Colleges: Where Should California Be Spending Our Tax Money?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently made headlines by proposing a constitutional amendment that would mandate the state spend more money in a given year on higher education than prisons.  While most voters agree that California's higher education system requires more resources, people on both sides of the aisle question the wisdom of such an amendment.  While the answers remain unclear, one thing is for sure: Schwarzenegger has provoked a lively debate. 




Students Talk Back – The Legalization of Marijuana

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

As the Obama administration has signaled it will not use federal authority to supersede states rights on the issue of medical marijuana, the legalization debate is gaining ground in California. With 14 states already approving the use of medical marijuana, it looks as though California may be the first to legalize the use of the drug without a prescription. With a near certain ballot initiative this November, the choice is now in the hands of voters. In a recent statewide poll, 56% of Californians approved the measure. But with widespread opposition from law enforcement and family values groups, the public could still be swayed. 



President Obama’s State of the Union Address Viewing

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences present a public viewing of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union with a pre-debate discussion. 



Students Talk Back – Homeland Security: Balancing Security and Civil Liberties

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

After the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt, Americans are once again questioning their safety in the air. As President Obama accepted responsibility for the incident, a number of structural changes to the way Americans travel quickly followed - leading privacy advocates to question if new provisions infringe upon civil liberties. Among these provisions are full body scanners, increased use of patdowns, and mandatory “extra security screenings” for individuals traveling from 14 specifically named countries, and the expansion of the “no fly list”. Some argue that the new measures violate travelers privacy. Others claim that flying is a choice, and as such, travelers are choosing not only to fly but also the additional screening that it necessitates. Even so, President Obama is being forced to confront an extremely difficult question - Are civil liberties more important than homeland security? And are the two mutually exclusive? Co-sponsors: Department of Political Science, The Daily Trojan, USC College Republicans, USC College Democrats, Political Student Assembly.



Students Talk Back – Obama One Year Later: What Have We Learned?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One year following President Obama's historic inauguration, many questions remain about his first term in office. While some argue that his administration had its successes - from the stimulus plan, to the commitment of 30,000+ troops to Afghanistan, to the likely passage of the first comprehensive health care bill in fifty years - others are disappointed with Obama's performance. Among the unfilled promises and broken campaign pledges are immigration reform, cap-and-trade, and the financial system regulatory overhaul. All of these issues feature a potential downside for President Obama as he comes under increased criticism for alienating his base of liberal supporters over the past 12 months, and for his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. While his inauguration a year ago seemed to herald a new era for American politics, many remain frustrated with the country’s economic situation and concerns over Obama's "big government" policies. With the 2010 midterm elections less than a year away, it now begs the question: After one historic year, what will the next 3 look like? 



USC Critical Issues Forum, Going For Broke: Goverance & The Fiscal Crisis

Thursday, November 12, 2009

School of Policy, Planning, and Development Dean Jack Knott and VP of Government and Community Relations Thomas Sayles hosted the inaugural USC Critical Issues Forum featuring a panel of distinguished guests.


Students Talk Back - Election 2010: The Governor’s Race

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Featuring Dan Loeterman, Daily Trojan; Micah Scheindlin, student representative from the USC College Democrats; Jordan Goh, student representative from the USC College Republicans.  Moderated by Alex Comisar, Editor-in-Chief, USC Daily Trojan; and Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics.




The New Civil Rights State: The Changing Nature of Civil Rights Litigation and Implementation

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Boston College's R. Shep Melnick spoke about trends in civil rights litigation and implementation.  R. Shep Melnick is the Tip O'Neill Chair of Politics at Boston College. He has written extensively on the intersections of law, politics and public policy — particularly in the areas of the interpretation of environmental statutes, welfare rights and special education. Melnick's book Between the Lines remains the standard study of political construction of statutory rights, which Martin Shapiro described as "The best work so far in integrating the study of courts into the general study of the politics of the American policy making process."  During his visit to USC, Melnick discussed a new project on the changing nature of civil rights litigation and implementation. He was joined at this event by USC Political Science Professor Jeb Barnes and USC Gould School of Law Professor Kareem Crayton, who facilitated discussion of Melnick's findings and arguments about the evolving nature of the "civil rights state" in the United States.



Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Passage of the Unruh Civil Rights Act

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Featuring Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks; Congressman Mervyn Dymally; Marvin L. Holen, who worked with Jesse M. Unruh on the Unruh Civil Rights Act; Ange-Marie Hancock, Associate Professor of Political Science at USC and author of The Politics of Disgust and the Public Identity of the "Welfare Queen"; Ruthee Goldkorn, Disability Rights Activist; R. Shep Melnick, Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Professor of American Politics at Boston College; Michelle Lee, USC student majoring in Political Science and Sociology, minoring in Human Rights; and Araceli Ruano, President of the LA County Arts Commission and trustee of the Mexican American Bar Foundation.



Crime, Punishment & Rehabilitation:  The Politics & Policy of California's Prisons

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featuring L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley; Vice President of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Pat Nolan; USC Law Professor, Jody Armour; and student representatives.



Students Talk Back -  California's Prison Crisis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Featuring Pat Nolan, Vice President, Prison Fellowship Ministries; Nina Salarno-Ashford, National Administrator, Corrections USA; Kirsten Rice, USC CALPIRG representative; and a student representative from the USC College Republicans.  Moderated by Dan Loeterman, Managing Editor, The Daily Trojan; and Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics.


The Role of the First Lady  

Monday, October 20, 2009

Featuring Dan Schnur,  Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics; Alison Renteln, USC Political Science Professor; and moderated by Parker Hevron, POIR Ph.D. candidate.  Co-sponsored by the Academic Culture Assembly. 


Balancing Concerns:  Do Human Rights Matter in a Global Recession?  

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Featuring Dick Castner,  Western Regional Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; David Kang, USC International  Relations Professor, Director of the USC Korean Studies Institute; Alison Renteln, USC Political Science Professor, Expert on cultural rights; Adam Weissman, USC, Class of 2010; and Christian Whiton, Former Deputy Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea.



Students Talk Back -  Obama and Climate Change: Energy, the Environment, and Congress' Next Challenge

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Featuring Sarah Leonard, Vice President, Glover Park Group and Senior Adviser for Gore for President 2000; Alex Pugh, Senior Public Policy Manager, Energy, Environment and Water Committee, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Bobby Almeida, President, USC College Democrats; and Nick Bradvica, Student Representative, USC College Republicans.  Moderated by Alex Comisar, Editor-in-Chief, USC Daily Trojan; and Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics.



Students Talk Back -  Obama and Afghanistan:  Should we stay or should we go? 

Monday, September 30, 2009 

Featuring Eileen Padberg, Director of Women’s Initiatives for Rebuilding Iraq and a member of the International Women’s Forum; Andre Pineda, Obama campaign advisor; and Samantha Foley, US College Democrats.  Moderated by Dan Loeterman, Managing Editor, The Daily Trojan and Dan Schnur, Director of the Unruh Institute of Politics. 


Students Talk Back - Health Care Reform

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Featuring Lisa Kalustian, Chief Deputy Director of Governor Schwarzenegger's Los Angeles office, and Former Deputy Associate Secretary for the CA Health and Welfare Agency; Kristina Schake, Senior Advisor of California Endowment, Advisor to the Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and John Kerry for President campaigns, and Co-Founder of Griffin/Schake; James Ellias, Student Representative, USC College Republicans; and Micah Scheindlin, Student Representative, USC College Democrats.  Moderated by Alex Comisar, Editor-in-Chief, USC Daily Trojan; and Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics. 


Students Talk Back -  Obama Overview:  How's he doing?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

With panelist Andrea Jones Rivera, the former Executive Director of ABC. 


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