Professors provide platform for campus discussion after Trump inauguration

St. Edward’s University faculty and students gathered over tacos in the Mabee Ballroom Jan. 20, hours after the inauguration of Donald Trump, to discuss how to overcome some of the divisions that led to the contentious presidential election that left many on both sides of the aisle dissatisfied.

The event, ‘The Inauguration and Tribal Politics’ was sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Leadership, and was intended to be a frank discussion covering a number of topics during the course of the lunch. 

“If you want a good discussion and free food, here we are,” said Jack Musselman, director of the CEL. The Fusion Discussions, as the luncheons are called, are held through the semester, with the next, a timely discussion on political polarization, to be held on Feb. 15 at noon in Fleck 305.

Professor Hilal Yilmaz referenced her expertise on labor economics when contributing to the discussion. “I agree that democrats made a mistake there by making those people lose hope. Even if you cannot bring back jobs, you can communicate to the working class that things are changing,” Yilmaz said.

Students and faculty discussed thoughts on how to connect with a political right that they no longer particularly understood, and how even to communicate with them. Voter fraud, populist politics, and the self-segregation of communities also came up.

“The intent is an intellectual discussion of important views on campus, but outside the classroom,” said Musselman. The turnout for the luncheon on inauguration was roughly 35, approximately half of whom were professors in fields pertinent to the topic.

The fusion discussions will be ongoing throughout the semester, with their schedule available on the Center for Leadership and Ethics’ website.