SBCC teachers discuss successes and failures of 2016 election

Zachary Patterson, Staff Writer

The Academic Senate held its first faculty lecture of the semester, “Reclaiming Democracy,” Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the Fe Bland Forum.

The event was the first in a series of three lectures and featured three professors from the college, designed to encourage students to participate more actively in democracy.

Patricia Stark, Matt Kay and Carrie Hutchinson spoke to the audience about whether the 2016 election was a win or loss. The professors described the pro’s and con’s but agreed on one thing: a victory can only come from an educated, informed and active citizenry.

Stark, a journalism instructor and the faculty advisor for the Channels, opened her lecture with a compilation video of Trump’s behavior when regarding news media.

“This has not been a good for the news media,” Stark said with a laugh. She argued the elections was both a victory and a defeat.

The defeat, she described, is the president’s apparent disdain of the free press, a cornerstone of democracy and protected by the first amendment.

According to Stark, the good news from this is an apparent, “renaissance in journalism.” She said that major newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times have reported an increase in investors and journalists. In her conclusion, Stark said she has never seen so many people engaged in the news.

Kay, a botany instructor at City College shifted the discussion to science. He spoke about the “centuries of dogma” that were questioned when Nicholas Copernicus theorized that the Sun, rather than the Earth, lie at the center of the solar system.

Kay said, “the sun is at the center of a great controversy,” going on to state that the increasing rate of carbon dioxide is not controversial and that “the evidence is being manifested around the world.”

Kay argued that the Trump administration’s strategy against science is two fold: first to attack the messenger, and second, to disable the messenger.

Kay concluded his lecture saying, “[the few] silver lining victories seem pyrrhic… this election is a big loss for science.”

Hutchinson, a communications professor and the last of the three speakers explained that the election can be viewed as a win from a communication perspective because of the increase in activism.

“Activism is my rent for living on the planet,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson emphasized the importance of people speaking their minds freely and clearly as a pivotal step towards reclaiming democracy. She explained how the election has created a more engaged citizenry that are discussing all the skeletons in the closet.

As she drew her speech to a close Hutchinson reiterated her message saying, “It feels like the ship is sinking… whatever you do, don’t choose silence.”

The next faculty lecture is titled, “Why is a vagina a pre-existing condition?” It will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17, in the Fe Bland Forum.