With President-elect Obama’s inauguration just a week away, a panel of UC Davis professors will gather tonight to discuss the various challenges facing the new president.
The event will consist of individual presentations by four different professors who will discuss the economic, constitutional, social and foreign policy issues that Obama will confront when he takes office on January 20. Following the presentations, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.
“The purpose of the panel is to examine a wide variety of issues that constitute major challenges for [president-elect] Obama,” said political science professor Zeev Maoz, who will be moderating the event. “Each panelist is an expert in their field and will address the nature and magnitude of these challenges and the way in which the new administration will tackle them.”
One of the panelists, UC Davis law professor Carlton Larson, will focus on the legal and constitutional challenges facing the new administration.
“I will primarily be talking about presidential appointments of judges and the justice department in general as well as policies with respect to war and terror issues,” he said.
Larson said the president-elect’s potential judicial appointments is an area that hasn’t yet been widely discussed in the media, primarily because Obama will not begin making those appointments until after he takes office.
“The media has been focused on his cabinet appointments because he is currently in that process … appointments to the bench only occur when there is a vacancy and after the term has started,” he said. “I won’t be naming any specific individuals that I think he will appoint – I will focus primarily on general issues.”
UC Davis sociology professor and panelist Kimberlee Shauman said she is looking forward to discussing potential social reform that the new administration will bring.
“I’m very excited about the inauguration and very much looking forward to a president that is interested in social research and approaches to social problems that can come from social research,” she said. “I wanted to open up dialogues about social problems really prominent in society.”
Many of those social challenges are topics that will be very familiar to audience members.
“These are not new issues,” Shauman said. “I plan on talking about the rise of personal income inequality, as well as the lack of movement toward educational and health equality. These are issues which the last administration gave a lot of lip service to, but whose policy approaches were ineffective.”
Junior economics major Patrick Rundell, who is the UC Davis Students for Barack Obama campus coordinator, said he thinks this panel will be a good opportunity for students to gain valuable information from experts.
“A lot of people have opinions formed from media exposure … it would be nice to hear credible information from professors here on campus,” he said. “We don’t have nearly enough of these sorts of discussions on campus … they are really important.”
The event will take place in the ARC Ballroom today at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
ERICA LEE can be reached email@example.com.