Janus Forum: The great debate
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 01:10
The Janus forum returns for its second year at Miami University. The two speakers openly discussing contrasting political viewpoints will be political analyst and Fox News commentator William Kristol and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Miami will host the forum at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in Hall Auditorium.
According to Patrick Haney, the interim chair of the political science department, the topic for this forum is foreign policy and the United States’ role in the world. Haney said the Janus forum, which will be held twice a year, provides a great opportunity for the entire community.
“It’s important for students to get a sense of where they fit on the political spectrum,” Haney said. “It’s their future, and it’s important for students to get involved. We want to program across a range of topics and perspectives.”
Haney also explained that bringing in people who are big names in the political field helps “bring the flow” to Oxford, since sometimes students can feel as though they are in a bubble.
During the event, students and other members of the community will be given the opportunity to ask Kristol and Richardson questions about foreign policy and listen to them debate.
According to the Fox News website, Kristol is the founder and editor of a political journal called “The Weekly Standard.” He also led the Project for Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory.
Richardson sought the Democratic presidential candidacy in 2008. He finished a second term as the New Mexico governor in 2011, winning with the “support of 69 percent of voters, representing the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history,” according to the biography on his official website.
Over 500 people were in attendance at last year’s Janus forum, according to Haney.
“We hope to see 600 to 800 this time,” he said.
Sophomore Sara Wenger, a political science and women’s studies double-major, said she is looking forward to this year’s panel.
“I feel that, as a political science student, this forum is not only directly paralleled to my interest, but I really enjoyed it last semester with Ezra Klein and Ari Fleischer,” she said. “Miami has a history of bringing impressive people, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing Bill Richardson.”
Haney said students play the biggest role in planning and executing the forum. “A group of students went to see a Janus forum at Brown University,” Haney said. “When they came back, they began planning their own. They came up with a topic and developed a list of potential speakers.” Haney also said that students help with ushering and hosting the event, and that the group of students is currently working on finding speakers for the spring panel. According to Haney, Kristol and Richardson were two good candidates because of their differing political opinions.
“They are both huge names and have a wide range of experience,” Haney said. “We wanted someone who was comfortable in the setting, good with students and generous with their time.”