St. Lawrence in the News - March 15, 2021 | St. Lawrence University

St. Lawrence in the News - March 15, 2021

This regular roundup features a selection of recent mentions of St. Lawrence University and its students, faculty, and staff in regional, national, and international media outlets. 

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies David Murphy wrote an opinion piece published by on Thursday, March 11. In the piece, Murphy warns that as the climate changes, the harder it will be to predict weather-related tragedies, and the more important it will become for individuals and local communities to produce their own energy. 

“We can’t predict the future, and outages will continue to occur, we can only hope to minimize their impact, and focusing on a resilient future is the only path to do so,” wrote Murphy.

Murphy is an environmental scientist whose work focuses on the intersection of energy, economics, and the environment. His most recent work analyzes the impact that the current renewable energy policies in New York State may have on greenhouse gas emissions and the energy return on investment of the electrical grid system.

Assistant Professor of Government James Sieja penned an opinion piece published by on Wednesday, March 10. In the piece, Sieja suggests that the Biden administration appoint people from a wide variety of educational and class backgrounds to a judicial reform commission.

“There are more reforms to address, of course. But the Biden Administration can legitimize the commission’s suggestions by including people with diverse experiences. Commentators often deride commissions as places where reforms go to die, but the substantial influence of non-experts could paradoxically keep judicial reform alive and possible,” wrote Sieja. 

 Sieja’s research interests center on the US federal court system, specifically the selection, nomination, and confirmation process for lower court judges. He regularly teaches introductory classes in American government, American legal systems, the presidency, and constitutional law.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Katharine Wolfe wrote an opinion piece published by on Tuesday, March 9. In the piece, Wolfe reflects on the danger of false information and how philosophy might help people to think critically.

 “If we think critically about our news sources, exercise diligence in verifying claims made by leading public figures or circulated via social media and don’t allow our beliefs to be guided by our fantasies, we can avoid the swamp of toxic untruths. Those who are credulous can wallow in anger in that swamp, and sometimes, as with Welch and those who stormed the Capitol, this can lead to violence,” wrote Wolfe. 

Wolfe’s recent work focuses on feminist ethics and the ethics of vulnerability, existential and phenomenological philosophy, and issues in bioethics.

Michael W. and Virginia R. Ranger Professor of Government Alan Draper penned an opinion piece published by on Friday, March 5. In the piece, Draper shares his thoughts on the critical role Independents played in Biden’s presidential victory and what the new administration should keep in mind as they enter into the next stage of their leadership. 

“Independent voters may have carried Biden over the finish line, but the more organized, more connected, more assertive sections of the Democratic base are better able to take advantage of it,” wrote Draper.

 Draper's work covers American political development, labor history, and the civil rights movement. He is a two-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award recipient and has published op-eds in the New York Times, USA TODAY, and other newspapers, and has authored and co-authored several publications.

Associate Professor of History Howard Eissenstat was recently quoted in domestic and international media outlets providing insight on Turkish affairs. On Saturday, Feb. 27, Eissenstat was quoted by Middle-East news outlet Ahval News. Following the Biden administration’s announcement that the U.S. will impose consequences on foreign governments that target dissidents and journalists, Eissenstat shared his thoughts on the likelihood of Turkish officials being sanctioned.  

In a Washington Post article published on Tuesday, March 2, Eissenstat commented on Turkish President Erdogan’s plans to improve human rights standards. “There was very little concrete, about how this is going to change, for example, the experience of journalists reporting on information the government doesn’t want to get out. There was little to explain how this is going to lessen the number of political prisoners,” he said.

On Thursday, March 4, Eissenstat was quoted by Ahval News and mentioned by Dutch newspaper De Kanttekening in stories about Erdogan’s intentions behind his human rights reform. “Bottom line: no real reform, but a lot of focus on retaining power. This will surprise absolutely no one,” he said.

 Eissenstat's research focuses on nationalism and Islam in the 19th century Ottoman Empire as well as the history of the Turkish Republic. His recent work has focused increasingly on contemporary Turkish domestic and foreign policy, especially on issues of rule-of-law, minority rights, and the reshaping of political culture under the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In addition to traditional academic work, Eissenstat served for over a decade as a Turkey Country Specialist for Amnesty International-USA. He has lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. military, and the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, as well as given testimony to the Canadian Senate and offered briefings to Congressional Committees.

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