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The students of the Lafayette Communications Union will sponsor a debate on the topic “Resolved: The United States Should Reform or Replace the Electoral College” between Arthur J. Rothkopf, president of Lafayette, and Alexandra Cooper, assistant professor of government and law, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

The event is free and open to the public.

Founded this year, the Communications Union fosters classroom and extracurricular activities that nurture verbal communication practices useful in daily life. Some of the members reside together in a special-interest living group in Keefe Hall, Lafayette’s newest residence hall.

“This is the first in a series planning a series of formalized, resolutional debates we are planning,” says Brandt Siegel, a sophomore from Marysville, Ohio, the Communications Union’s co-president. “The debates will bring together faculty, student, and area leaders to discuss contemporary controversies. The intent of the program is to raise awareness in the Lafayette community.

“We consider education through verbal communication as a paramount way of encouraging change and raising consciousness,” Siegel continues. “One can truly claim ownership of her or his mindset and beliefs when they are challenged through discussion. LCU hopes to challenge the Lafayette community to look at contemporary controversies and form opinions as a basis for action and social change.”

Rothkopf is in his eighth year as the College’s 15th president. A 1955 Lafayette graduate, he holds a law degree from Harvard. Prior to becoming Lafayette’s president in July 1993, he was Deputy Secretary of Transportation in the Bush Administration.

Cooper recently received a $74,286 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the role of campaign contributions in elections in the United States. A new addition to the Lafayette faculty this year, she holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research interests include campaign finance, electoral systems, and the presidency.

Last fall, in its first semester of activity, the Communications Union sponsored analysis-and-discussion sessions in connection with the three televised Presidential debates. The other officers, also sophomores, are co-president Emily Murphy (Center Valley, Pa.), secretary Alison Hindenlang (Randolph, N.J.); and treasurer Crystal Taylor (Hyattsville, Md.).

Members include junior Jennifer Gibbs (Chatham, Mass.) and sophomores Chris Alworth (Lincroft, N.J.), Giselle Edwards (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Kenya Flash (Coopersburg, Pa.), Jessica Held (Pottstown, Pa.), Caitlyn Kelleher (Springfield, Va.), and Michael Koumaras (Philadelphia, Pa.).

Also, first-year students Rakieb Andargachew (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Michael Lestingi (Tallmadge, Ohio), Jennifer Rusak (Ashley, Pa.), and Devan Theiler (Bridgewater, N.J.).

The advisers are Bruce Allen Murphy, Lafayette’s Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights, and Scott Placke, an adjunct instructor of government and law and individual events coach of the Lafayette Forensics Society.

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