VERMILLION, S.D. – David C. Earnest, Ph.D., the chair of the University of South Dakota Department of Political Science, and Julia Hellwege, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department, discussed the riots in Washington D.C., the end of President Donald Trump’s term in office and President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“The inauguration is the formal embodiment of the democratic pillar of the transition of power,” said Hellwege. “It’s the visual moment we see a previous president stepping down and a new president coming in. It’s what democracy truly looks like.”
“Part of the challenge we have these days is that our elected and appointed leadership no longer operate from a common set of facts,” said Earnest. “To me the way we grow as a society – our leadership must demonstrate a shared commitment to a basic set of values and ideas including objective fact and science.”
Earnest is the Odeen-Swanson Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. His research uses computational social science to study how communities manage complex interactions between physical, natural, ecological, technological and social systems. He earned his doctorate and master’s degree from George Washington University.
Hellwege earned her doctorate and master’s degree in political science from the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on institutional behavior and representation, particularly in relation to gender, race and ethnicity.
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