Polling talk ends semester; MLK Day begins next

Before the semester ends, the campus will host one last speaker, George Crowley, to discuss deliberative democracy. Then, the first day of classes next semester will bring numerous speakers to Carnegie Mellon to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On Thursday, Crowley, the co-director of Carnegie Mellon’s Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, will present the last lecture of the semester, titled “Making Citizen Participation Count: Practical Issues in Local Deliberative Polling.”

Crowley will evaluate the method’s usefulness as a means of public involvement and present the changes that need to be made to the deliberative process for it to become “a tool for strengthening democratic accountability,” according to a university press release.

Crowley is the author of The Politics of Place: Contentious Urban Redevelopment in Pittsburgh, published in 2005. He is also the director of research at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in Pittsburgh. The Coro Center aims to motivate young leaders to participate in the development of the Pittsburgh community.

The lecture will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Baker Hall 150.

Next semester will commence with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on January 15. This year’s event features keynote speaker John Wideman, professor of English at Brown University. Pittsburgh is Wideman’s hometown and the inspiration for much of his writing.

Wideman is the author of 10 novels, most recently Two Cities (1998). He has also written several collections of memoirs. His work has been published in several prestigious publications, including Vogue and The New York Times Magazine.

Accompanying him will be SPIRIT president Rosalyce Broadous-Brown, a senior in social and decision sciences.

Wideman and Broadous-Brown will speak together at 5 p.m. in Rangos Hall.

The day’s events will commence with university President Jared L. Cohon’s annual speech on the state of diversity at Carnegie Mellon at 12:30 p.m. in McConomy Auditorium.

A panel discussion titled “Community Conversation: Opportunity. Justice. Pittsburgh? Is King’s Vision Relevant in 2007?” will take place at 2:30 p.m. in McConomy Auditorium. The panel will include Terrance Hayes, Carnegie Mellon associate professor of English. The panelists will lead a discussion regarding whether King’s ideals are a reality in Pittsburgh. Moderating the event will be Everett Tademy, Carnegie Mellon’s director of diversity.

“There’s no doubt that people will come and learn something.... It is an opportunity for people to reflect on their own ideas and thoughts,” said Anne Witchner, assistant dean of Student Affairs. Witchner has been involved in planning the day’s events since 1999. She said that all of this year’s events “focus somewhat on issues today in Pittsburgh,” but that the day was about “paying homage to Dr. King ... to honor his spirit.”

At 7 p.m., the black graduate students of CMU and the University of Pittsburgh will host a dinner to discuss the meaning and relevance of King’s speeches to young scholars in the world today. The discussion will be led by a guest speaker and a panel of members from several organizations for black graduate students. The event will take place at the McKenna, Peter, and Wright rooms in the University Center.

For a complete list of events, visit