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Kerry or Bush? New class on presidential election

August 24, 2004

Photos of 2004 U.S. presidential candidates John Kerry and George W. Bush with a graphic of a question mark between themAs the 2004 election approaches, voters stand divided along ideological and party lines with the percentage of undecided voters the smallest in history. Will the Democrats "take back the White House" with John Kerry? Or, will there be "four more years" of George W. Bush?

A unique two-unit course at SFSU this fall, "The 2004 Presidential Elections: Issues and Analysis," is a lecture series designed to help the campus community and the public better understand elections, political campaigns and campaign issues.

"The goal is to get beyond the media," said Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the course instructor. "Faculty can give deeper analyses of the campaign and the issues."

The class will be held from 7:15 to 8:55 p.m. Wednesday evenings through Dec. 8 in the Humanities Auditorium, room 133 of the Humanities building.

SFSU faculty experts and guests will hold weekly panel discussions on the campaign and the hottest issues on the candidates' platforms, followed by discussion. On Election Night -- Nov. 2 -- the class will meet in Jack Adams Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center for a special session in which the class will watch election returns on television, and faculty will provide real-time analysis.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • The Republican and Democratic conventions: platforms and campaign strategies;
  • The role of the media, ads and polls in presidential elections;
  • The war in Iraq;
  • The economy: unemployment, outsourcing, poverty, free trade and tax cuts;
  • Sociocultural wars: same-sex marriage and reproductive rights;
  • Pre-election analysis and prediction of results;
  • Post-election analysis: the impact of the presidential election on federal, state and local elections; and
  • Domestic and foreign policy changes: the United States in 2005 and beyond.

The class is expected to draw about 100 students and community members, who can take the course through the College of Extended Learning at a reduced rate of $150, or attend individual sessions on a space-available basis for free. Students will be graded on a credit/no-credit basis.

For more about the class, visit the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Web site.

This is SFSU's second lecture-style class offered to the general public. Last fall, Kassiola taught "The United States and the World in the 21st Century," which featured faculty experts discussing United States policies and use of military intervention in the increasingly complex and volatile environment post-9/11 and post-Iraq war.

-- Matt Itelson
Graphic: Susanne Panasik; photo of Bush courtesy of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign; photo of Kerry courtesy of Kerry-Edwards 2004 Inc. from Sharon Farmer


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Last modified August 24, 2004 by University Communications