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Stories this week at Wake Forest University


October 29, 2008

Wake Forest faculty members are available to comment on the 2008 election. Experts are available from a wide range of areas, including political science, debate, religion, law and business, covering topics such as campaign ads, presidential debates, health care, banking, political scandal and young voters. Visit www.wfu.edu/wfunews/2008/election/ for a searchable list of experts and issues.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

ELECTION REFLECTS CHANGING STATE DEMOGRAPHICS — Tight races in North Carolina’s 2008 election reflect a state that is undergoing significant political and economic changes, according to Jack Fleer, professor emeritus of political science. Fleer says the changing state demographics include a more urban population, a large influx of non-native voters who tend to be more middle class, and college-educated, professional employees with more moderate and non-ideological political views. Fleer notes that new voter registrations are giving the Democratic Party an advantage this year, although he says Republican voters tend to be more dependable in going to the polls. “Registered independents are almost one-fourth of the electorate, and will determine the outcome of most elections,” Fleer says. “Voter turnout will be key in the major contests.” Fleer does not rule out Republican gains in the state, even though the party is being outspent 8-to-1 in political advertising. “The Republican Party has shown superior get-out-the-vote efforts in recent elections, has the agent of change status at the state level and will put up a strong fight up and down the ballot,” he says.  Fleer is watching to see if historical patterns hold this year, with Republicans winning federal seats and Democrats winning state posts.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

‘AMERICA IS NOT GOING SOCIALIST’ — David Coates, professor of political science, says the United States does not face socialism but a slightly more managed capitalism. “With the bank crisis in full flow and an interventionist Democratic presidential candidate ahead in the polls, many commentators have started to claim that we drift toward socialism, but that is not happening,” he says. “What we face is simply state intervention in the banking system designed explicitly to strengthen the rest of the private sector. That intervention will be large. It will also be temporary, and it has happened before. It happened in Sweden in the 1990s and in the U.S. in the 1930s, on both occasions helping to trigger long-term, private-sector growth.” Coates notes that the federal government is already heavily involved in the economy, subsidizing the agricultural sector and spending taxpayer money on engineering projects “from guns and tanks to spaceships.” Coates says the rest of the industrial world flourishes under such a system and that if managed properly, so will America.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

Analyzing North Carolina voting patterns — North Carolina voters have taken strikingly different approaches over the last quarter century when casting ballots for president, senator and governor. These patterns provide a baseline for analyzing the 2008 contests, according to John Dinan, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest. “Since 1984, North Carolina voters have sided with Republican presidential candidates in every election and by an average margin of 12 percentage points,” he says. Dinan notes that in senate contests during this time, N.C. voters sided with Republican candidates in all but two elections, and by an average margin of 3.2 percentage points. However, in gubernatorial elections, Dinan says N.C. voters sided with Democratic candidates in all but two elections and by an average margin of 3.4 percentage points. Dinan is currently teaching a seminar called “The 2008 Elections.”

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

THE PICKENS PLAN:  POWERFUL OPTION OR BREEZY IDEA? — Both presidential candidates have pledged to pursue a multi-faceted energy policy that includes renewable sources, but which alternatives make the most sense?  Well-known oilman T. Boone Pickens has spent large sums running television ads touting his plan to use wind energy to generate electricity and divert natural gas from power plants to fuel automobiles until fuel-cell technology is viable.  Frederick Harris, John B. McKinnon Professor of Management, Economics and Finance at Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management, has analyzed renewable energy alternatives and is available to provide a critique of the Pickens Plan.  “The Pickens Plan requires amassive public-private partnership that should be explored by the new administration; however, much smaller scale wind-to-power coop installations can recover their cost quickly in ideal locations,” Harris says.

Contact: Sylvia Green, sylvia.green@mba.wfu.edu or (336) 758-3559

NATIONAL ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY EXPERT MEDIA AVAILABILITY — Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College, will present a multimedia presentation on “Sex[ism], Identity, and Intimacy in a Pornographic Culture” at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in Brendle Recital Hall at the Scales Fine Arts Center. Dines founded the Stop Porn Culture organization to raise awareness about the harm caused by pornography. “While mainstream pop culture grows increasingly pornographic, the pornography industry produces hardcore material that is both more overtly cruel toward women and more widely accepted than ever,” says Dines. She is co-author of “Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality.” Dines is available for in-person and telephone interviews before the presentation. The multimedia presentation is free and open to the public, 18 and older.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

CURRENT CHALLENGES TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH — The Wake Forest School of Law and Women’s and Gender Studies program will host “Equality-based Perspectives on the Free Speech Norm: 21st Century Considerations” from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1309. Symposium participants will focus on how a commitment to free speech should intersect with a commitment to equality, diversity and multiculturalism under the Constitution. Specific topics include free speech in education, religious speech in the political process and hate speech concerning religious, racial and sexual minorities. Kathleen Mahoney, professor of law at the University of Calgary, will deliver the keynote address. Mahoney helped secure several landmark women’s rights and speech cases in the Supreme Court of Canada, including a case banning pornography on equality grounds. All presenters are available for interviews. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR VIEWS FINANCIAL CRISIS FROM VIENNA — Jonathan Duchac, Merrill Lynch Professor of Accountancy and director of the Enterprise Risk Management program at Wake Forest University’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, is spending the fall semester as Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Vienna University of Business and Economics in Austria.  In Vienna since late September, Duchac offers the valuable perspective of an expert who has both academic and Wall Street experience.  He has been able to observe both the origin of the financial crisis in the United States and its recent expansion across the globe.  He has been asked to present his assessment of the crisis, titled “The Perfect Storm:  The Global Financial Crisis of 2008,” at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna and to the Austrian Institute of Certified Financial Analysts.  Duchac is available to discuss with reporters his observations about how the financial crisis is affecting the European Union. 

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

CALLOWAY SCHOLAR JOINS SEC STUDY OF SARBANES-OXLEY George Aldhizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers Faculty Fellow and associate professor of accounting at Wake Forest’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, has been selected to assist in a cost-benefit study of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.  Section 404 was intended to help ensure that public companies provide investors and creditors with more reliable financial reporting by requiring the documentation and testing of various internal controls.  The national study is the first funded by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to collect and analyze the “real world” costs and benefits of Section 404 compliance.  Aldhizer will work with two market research companies, The Henne Group and QSA Integrated Research Solutions, to survey thousands of public companies subject to the regulations and to analyze and interpret the data collected. The final report to the SEC is expected to be ready in late spring 2009.  Aldhizer is available to discuss how issues related to Sarbanes-Oxley have been raised during the current financial crisis.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMS GARNER TWO AWARDS — The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers has chosen Wake Forest University as the recipient of two annual awards, marking the first time any school has won two GCEC awards in the same year.  The awards were presented at the 2008 GCEC annual conference in Tucson, Ariz.  Wake Forest’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts and the Babcock Graduate School of Management’s Angell Center for Entrepreneurship collaborated to jointly win the GCEC Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovations and the GCEC Award for Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across the Disciplines.  Elizabeth Gatewood, director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, and Stan Mandel, director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship, are available to discuss the innovative entrepreneurship programs available at Wake Forest, where the new entrepreneurship minor has become the largest and fastest-growing minor.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

VETERANS DAY CEREMONY — Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Larrabee will be the guest speaker at the Wake Forest Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Perritt Plaza beside Reynolda Hall. Larrabee is a senior military logistics analyst who currently works for Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in support of the U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency at Ft. Belvoir, Va. Among his military awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Wake Forest Chaplain Tim Auman will deliver the invocation and benediction at the event, presented by the Army Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) department. Veterans who attend will be recognized for their military service. A wreath will be laid at the base of the flagpole in honor of veterans who have died in support of freedom, and Taps will be played.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

CONSERVATIONIST TO SHARE DISCOVERY OF A 'LOST WORLD'— Noted conservationist Bruce Beehler, who has been featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” will speak at Wake Forest Nov. 13 about his explorations of a “lost world” in a remote corner of the tropical island of New Guinea.  “Lost Worlds:  Discoveries from the Edge of Civilization” will begin at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel.  The event, part of Wake Forest’s Voices of Our Time speaker series, is free and open to the public.  In recent expeditions to the mist-shrouded forests of New Guinea’s Foja Mountains, Beehler and his team of scientists found a biodiversity treasure trove.  They discovered dozens of new species of birds, insects and plants.  His most recent book, “Lost Worlds,” chronicles his adventures in New Guinea and other tropical jungles around the world.  “Even in this Internet age of satellite images and instant communication, our planet still holds magnificent secrets,” said Beehler.  “This area of New Guinea may represent the most pristine natural ecosystem in the entire Asia-Pacific region.  This discovery gives people hope that there are these untouched places.”  His presentation will include sound recordings, color images and video highlighting some of his most remarkable discoveries, including a bird-of-paradise that had been lost to science for more than a century.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.


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