Scholar Spotlight | Jump-starting political organizations on campus

For this month’s Scholar Spotlight we interviewed SMU Senior and HCM Tower Scholar Drew Wicker about his political activism on campus. Wicker is majoring in finance and plans to attend graduate school after graduating from SMU in May.

You founded Young Americans for Freedom at SMU and then re-established the College Republicans. Tell us about that experience and how those organizations fit into the campus and your life now.

scholar spotlight Drew Wicker

HCM Tower Scholar Drew Wicker speaks to his congressional district at the 2016 Texas Republican Convention.

I worked with another student my freshman year to start the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) at SMU. I served as Vice Chairman and Co-Founder of that organization until my senior year (this year). During my time at YAF the SMU College Republicans went defunct as an organization and, with no one to lead it for the next year (my junior year), I was asked to step in and do a restart for the group.

I have served as president of College Republicans at SMU for these last two years, and also currently serve as vice chairman for the Texas Federation of College Republicans (the statewide organization for College Republicans). Both of these organizations have afforded me incredible experiences that have helped shape my worldview. YAF provided me with an insight into activism that I had lacked going into college. College Republicans allowed me to see that in order to create real, sustainable change with respect to promoting one’s personal beliefs, there must be a vehicle for that change (such as a political party). Continue reading

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Event Recap | The Duty to Disobey Illegal Nuclear Strike Orders

duty to disobey illegal nuclear strike

Anthony Colangelo discusses his paper with Diana Newton
at the SMU Tower Center Feb. 12.

With President Trump’s increasingly provocative tweets directed at North Korea and Kim Jong-un, people have becoming increasingly concerned with the seemingly unquestioned power the president has to order nuclear strikes. SMU Professor of Law Anthony Colangelo was no different. He drafted a paper on why there is a duty to disobey illegal nuclear strike orders, believing that in most scenarios, but not all, the use of such weapons would constitute a war crime.

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Speaker Q&A | The Life and Ideas of Liu Xiaobo

perry link discusses liu xiaobo

China expert Perry Link speaks at the SMU
Tower Center-Asian Studies program Feb. 8.

The SMU Tower Center and Asian Studies hosted Perry Link, author and translator of many influential works on Chinese language, literature, human rights and cultural history, at SMU Feb. 8 for the program “The Life and Ideas of Liu Xiaobo.” Liu Xiaobo was China’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate before he died in July while still serving a prison sentence for inciting subversion of the state. He was an outspoken critic of both the West and China, a poet, and a scholar. HCM Tower Scholar Destiny Rose Murphy interviewed Link about his research into Xiaobo’s life before the program.

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Symposium Recap | Japan-Mexico-Texas: Exploring Politics and Economics

Japan Mexico Texas Tower Center

The First panel discusses the politics of Japan, Mexico and Texas Jan. 30.

The SMU Tower Center Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia partnered with the SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center for an all-day discussion of the Japan-Mexico-Texas economic and political relationship Jan. 30.

The first panel, which focused on how politics affect the economic relationship, featured Ulises Granados, professor and researcher at ITAM, and Justin Reeves, assistant professor of political science at SMU. The panel was moderated by the centers’ Executive Director Luisa del Rosal.

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Student Blog | Gente-fication: The Changing Face of Urban Development

genteficationThe SMU Tower Center and Latino Center for Leadership and Development co-hosted a policy forum discussing “gente-fication” and various policy solutions that could reduce the impact of the rising costs of housing and amenities for low-income locals. HCM Tower Scholar Destiny Rose Murphy wrote about what she learned.

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Event Recap | An Economist’s Case for Free Migration

economic case for free migration

Benjamin Powell presents at the SMU Tower Center Jan. 31.

Benjamin Powell, director of the Free Market Institute and professor of economics at Texas Tech University, visited the SMU Tower Center to give a lecture on why free migration makes economic sense.

The economic case for migration is simple: the more freely the factors of production, such as goods and services, natural resources, and labor, can move, the more efficient and productive the economy will be. Obviously, natural resources cannot be moved, which means the movement of labor is important in order to harness as much creative and productive potential as possible.

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Student Experience | Japan-U.S. Relations in the Changing World

The SMU Tower Center Sun & Star Japan-East Asia Program hosted the discussion “Japan-U.S. Relations in the Changing World” featuring Naoyuki Agawa, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, Jan. 30. SMU Junior and HCM Tower Scholar Destiny Rose Murphy wrote about her experience at the event.

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Center Spotlight | Dominique Baker

Dominique Baker wants to make it possible for all students to have equitable opportunities. She is an assistant professor of education policy at SMU’s Simmons School and an associate at the SMU Tower Center. We sat down with her to talk about her journey to SMU and how her research could lead to more thoughtful education policies.

What brought you to work at SMU?

Center Spotlight Dominique BakerI completed and defended my dissertation in 2016 and during that final year I was really hoping to find a university that blended a focus on research and a really strong care for teaching and engaging with students. Because of that, I was really excited when I saw SMU had a position. I think SMU has a really great blend. You can talk to students about the attention and time that we give them and the small class sizes, all of those pieces.

At the same time I feel very confident that the institution is concerned about my research and wants to help me do good research that can impact the community. One of the primary pieces of that, is that I don’t just study education, I study education policy. I’ve always been really interested in seeing how public policy intersects with education and how we find ways to create more equitable outcomes for all students.

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TC Associate Directs New Center for China Studies in Manchester

TC Associate Directs New CenterThe Tower Center is happy to announce that our associate Peter H. Gries has been chosen as director of a new center for China Studies at the University of Manchester. The center, made possible by a generous donation by philanthropist Dr. Lee Kai Hung, will be accompanied by a Chinese Culture Gallery, and will focus on research and public outreach.

Read more about the Center.

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Colin Powell Fellowships Announced for 2018-2019

We are happy to announce four SMU faculty members have been awarded this year’s Colin Powell Global Order and Foreign Policy Fellowship for 2017-2018. Funding has been awarded to Karisa Cloward, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Jeffrey A. Engel, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Presidential History, and to a joint project led by Luigi Manzetti, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Thomas Osang, Associate Professor of Economics. The award, designed to increase research and scholarship and to enhance teaching effectiveness, gives SMU faculty members up to $5,000 for their research, which contributes to what President Bush referred to as the New World Order.

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