In honor of Inauguration Day, Texas State hosted a symposium Jan. 20 in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom that was sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The symposium featured two panels of professors from the political science, history, communication studies and journalism departments who spoke on a variety of issues regarding the presidential inauguration process.
Each department presented speeches that provided historical context to the process of inaugurations and focused on strategies and symbols used in the ritualistic proceeding.
“I think it’s good for our campus community to learn the history of the inaugural event—how in America, we do have a peaceful transfer of power,” said student body president Andrew Homann. “I hope that today we can put politics aside and realize that this is something that is special for our country and our democracy.”
Moderator The Hon. Geoffrey S. Connor, Ph.D., Texas State class of 1985, asked panelists, students and faculty members questions.
One concern students and faculty expressed was whether the presidential race and inauguration symbolized a new experience in American politics. Multiple members of the boards concluded that while 2016 was perhaps more vitriolic than years before, it was not out of the American norm.
Students responded to the idea of the symposium positively, expressing gratitude toward university leaders who gave the Texas State community a chance to voice concerns and interaction with the student body in general.
“I think it was an excellent idea to have professors in political science be able to talk about and discuss the inauguration with the student body and to answer any questions that they might have had,” said Joshua Clark, political science junior. “I am glad that the university has taken initiative to address any controversies or any questions that students might have during this dramatic election that we have just experienced.”
Some students were concerned that recent protests on campus regarding the presidential election might have occurred at the symposium.
“Due to some of the protests that we have seen not only on campus but in our state of Texas, I thought there were going to be protests, but I was surprised everything was pretty civil,” said Samantha Martinez, student government vice president. “The questions that we had were very reasonable and very understanding. I was happy to see that there was no conflict.”