December 11, 2017 Newsletter


Opportunities and Announcements for the Week of December 11, 2017


Free Student Memberships.  The British Politics Group is an association of political scientists interested in and doing research on the politics of the United Kingdom.  The BPG is an affiliated group of the American Political Science Association and holds its annual meeting and sponsors conference panels at APSA meetings (in the US) and at the Political Studies Association meetings (in Britain).  I have frequently served as a member of the BPG Executive Council, most recently in 2013-2015.  Both Professor Lavelle and I are BPG members.  This year the British Politics Group is offering free memberships for students.  As Professor Janet Laible, BPG Executive Director writes, “If you are a student and would like to join/renew your membership for free, … please contact me [at]. Student members have the same opportunities and privileges as all other members, e.g. the right to present on BPG panels at APSA, invitations to our receptions and special events, etc. The BPG offers great opportunities for students to network with scholars in the field at our conferences and events.”  You can see the new BPG website here.  I encourage interested students to join the BPG.
Nominate the Best Faculty Members.  If you are interested in nominating one of our faculty for the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring and/or the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, please see the call for nomination here.
An Alumna Returns.  Our alumna Cheyenne Chambers (BA POSC, MA HSTY 2011) will give a public lecture titled “A Story of Perseverance,” today, Friday, December 8, at 2:00pm in Mather House 100. Ms. Chambers earned her law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and currently practices at the law firm of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen; she most recently argued a case before the North Carolina Supreme Court.  See the flyeradvertising Ms. Chambers’ lecture and the various events associated with her visit.
Tax Reform that Kills Higher Education.  As I wrote in last week’s Newsletter, the US Congress is considering legislation that would seriously damage higher education.  Different versions of tax reform bills have passed the House and the Senate, and both are damaging.  A conference committee of House membersand Senators will be formed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills, but the resolved bill will thereafter be returned to each chamber for an up or down vote, without amendments.  I include the text of last week’s Newsletter in regard to this issue, below.  Please see a lengthier but similar argument by political science professor Wendy Brown (Class of 1936 First Professor, University of California at Berkeley).  The distribution of the vote on tax reform is here.  This is what I wrote last week, below.
With all best wishes,
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

– Benjamin Franklin.


The US Congress is considering a major revision of the tax code.  Proposed changes in the code are likely to have serious and negative consequences for higher education – not just in terms of the impact of the legislation on universities such as ours, but also in terms of the impact on the US population, including high school students applying for college admissions, college and university students planning on attending graduate school, and faculty and staff of universities who hope to extend their own education or to send their children on to higher education.
As the American Council on Education explains,

“The tax code contains a number of provisions, enacted independently over time, that together create a framework that functions as a kind of “three-legged stool” intended to advance three important goals: 1) encourage saving for higher education; 2) help students and families pay for college; and 3) assist with the repayment of student loans. This framework serves the needs of low- and middle-income students and families as they invest in themselves and in higher education.

“In addition, students and families benefit from the non-profit tax-exempt status of public and private colleges and universities through charitable giving, endowments, and tax-exempt bond financing benefits, all of which help institutions to provide financial aid and advance their teaching, research and public service missions.”

Three provisions, among several, could have negative consequences.  First, former students who are paying off their student loans would no longer be able to deduct the interest payments on these loans.  The House version of the tax reform bill would end the Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID) available in current tax law.
Second, “the House bill would repeal Sec. 117(d)(5), which provides for the tax exemption of tuition waivers for graduate students serving as teaching and research assistants.”  Graduate students earn very little in actual stipends.  In addition to providing tuition waivers, Ohio State University provides some of its political science graduate students with a University Fellowship that pays $25,296 per year; the University of Chicago funds its political science University graduate Fellows at approximately the same level.  It would be a challenge for graduate students to pay tax on tuition from their graduate stipend alone.  OSU graduate tuition, in-state, is more than $12,000; for out-of-state students, tuition tops $33,000.  The University of Chicago tuition is $18,612 a quarter, or more than $55,000 year.
Third, “the House bill would repeal Sec. 117(d), Sec. 117(d)(5), and Sec. 127, which would make tuition waivers and exemptions included under estimated gross income (EGI) taxable and would increase the taxable income for many campus employees, as well as graduate students.”  Universities and colleges offer (under current law) tax-free tuition benefits to their employees and dependents, helping institutions of higher education attract motivated employees, helping those employed to further their education, and giving the dependents of those employees access to higher education.  An employee at CWRU (in, e.g., Grade 02) making the maximum annual income of $30,191 would be hard-pressed to pay the tax on the tuition for a child enrolled at CWRU ($23,537/semester); under the current tax code, the tuition benefit is not taxed as income.  Although the Senate version of the bill does not include this change, differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will be reconciled in conference, where some of the protections in the Senate bill could disappear.
Why is support for higher education important in the tax code?  The tax code underscores the values of the country and provides incentives for behavior that the US, as a nation, hopes to encourage.  Graduate school is, of course, not for everyone, but graduate school is not for nobody.  Graduate school is the source of the future professoriate; it is the source of the highest level of research and scholarship; it undergirds the development of new bodies of knowledge.  Similarly, college is not for everyone, but college is not for no one.  Encouraging those with the preparation and the necessary talents, interests, and experience to attend university, and to do so without permanently damaging themselves financially, is the right thing to do.
You can read more at  Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are both members of the Senate Finance Committee.  Senator Brown can be reached through his website at; Senator Portman can be contacted through his website at



General Announcements

    • Congratulations to Marin Exler and Ann Marie Smetona, who were offered internships with the Latin American News Digest. According to LAND:
      “Winners (student writers and researchers) contribute to LAND’s weekly issues by writing condensed versions of news articles found in Latin American sources. (…) The result is an enriching experience for students who discover a variety of perspectives within the Latin American media. 
      “Students will also have the opportunity to research and write their own aggregations, with their own bylines.”
  • Discussions: The Undergraduate Research Journal of Case Western Reserve University is accepting submissions for the spring issue. The deadline is January 19. Interested students can submit research papers and literary reviews here.
  • The Observer is hiring reporters for its News, Arts & Entertainment, and Sports sections. This is a paid opportunity. Interested students should send an email to More information is available here.
  • The Career and Internship Connections are collegiate hiring events held each year during the first two weeks of January, where students from 18 prestigious colleges and universities meet with employers through a morning career fair and afternoon interviews. For the 2018 cycle, we will be holding a single event in New York City on January 9th, which will include students and employers also interested in the Boston and Washington DC markets.
  • Stay up to date with the department by following our Twitter feed! Check it for day to day opportunities and information!
  • Like us on Facebook! Our department will be regularly posting events, opportunities, and general information to our page!

A Story of Perseverance
December 8, 2:00p.m., Mather House 100
POSC Alumna and Wellman Hill Grant recipient Cheyenne Chambers (BA, MA ’11) earned her law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and currently practices at Tin Fulton Walker & Owen. Join us as she discusses her educational and professional experiences.

Friday Lunch: Political Strife in the 1960s And Today
December 8, 12:30-1:30p.m., KSL Dampeer Room
As political scientists talk about polarization and norms of political behavior seem to be evaporating, it is easy to believe something unique is happening.  Yet there have been other times in world and U.S. history when it seemed that the center could not hold, and every day brought new horrors.  What might we learn about today by comparing to the last period of great upheaval and strife, the 1960s?  Professor Joe White will make suggestions and we’ll see where the discussion goes.

Intersections: Celebration of Undergraduate Student Writing and Research
December 8, 12:00-2:45p.m., TVUC Ballroom and First Floor
This event is a university-wide showcase of student writing and research projects.

The Color of Law: Housing, Segregation, and Education in the U.S.
December 8, 12:00p.m., The City Club
Join this conversation with Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as he traces the roots of housing, segregation, and education in the U.S. Nonmember tickets are $35.

Five to Nine
December 8, 5:30-7:30p.m., Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box]
Class and work are your 9-to-5. What’s your 5-to-9? Celebrate your side projects and enjoy food, drinks and raffle prizes.

Dittrick Museum Holiday Open House 
December 9, 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m., Allen Memorial Medical Library
We’re decking the halls! Join us for cookies and punch, store items for discounted prices, and holiday cheer.

Cleveland Foundation Internship Information Session
December 11, 1:00-1:45p.m., TVUC First Floor Conference Room
The Cleveland Foundation has a paid internships and fellowships that are available to CWRU students.  Learn more about the paid Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program and the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship programs. The application deadlines for both those programs are in January/February, but this is a great opportunity to meet the hiring manager and get your questions answered. 

Selling the Good Life during the Great Depression
December 12, 12:00p.m., CMA Gallery 230
Join curator Barbara Tannenbaum as she discusses the effects of the Great Depression on American life in the 1930s. Free with Case ID.

Terrorism, Conflict, and Crises of Leadership
December 12, 7:30-8:45p.m., The Happy Dog (West Side Location)
Join this discussion on the geopolitical issues facing Africa and their impact on the United States. This is a free event.

Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America
December 13, 12:00p.m., The City Club
Peter Edelman, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Georgetown Law Center, and author, will discuss his new book, Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, and the disproportionate way in which lacking money can turn citizens into criminals. Nonmember tickets are $35.

Internship and Fellowship Opportunities

James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellowship
The Dunn Fellowship Program provides bright, highly motivated college graduates a unique opportunity to experience firsthand the operations of state government at the Illinois governor’s office for one year. The application deadline is January 15.

Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines! 

Scholarship Opportunities

American Public Works Association Scholarship
The Ohio Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) is issuing two $1,000 scholarships to Graduate Students majoring in Civil Engineering, Public Administration, or a closely related field. The application deadline is February 24. See here for the further details.

Summer Opportunities

Stanford University Summer Policy Boot Camp
The Summer Policy Boot Camp is a one week program focused on the economic, political, and social aspects of United States national and international public policy. The program will take place August 19-25, 2018, and applications are due March 1, 2018.

A Little Extra…

  • Professor Karen Beckwith was recently appointed to the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Political Science, the journal of the Canadian Political Science Association. Read more about it here.
  • Check out Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens for some holiday cheer! Ticket information is available on the webpage.

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