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W&L’s Strong Weighs In on the Topic of Rigged Elections

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on October 29, 2016, and is reprinted here by permission.

Robert A. Strong: Dead man voting

StrongBob-400x600 W&L's Strong Weighs In on the Topic of Rigged ElectionsRobert Strong

Donald Trump and his surrogates have recently pointed out that the national voter registration rolls include the names of 1.8 million dead people. This ominous observation is accompanied by an insinuation that busloads of the dead will be showing up on Election Day to cast ballots for Hillary. The election will be rigged, and rigged by those in rigor mortis.

In this certifiably crazy election cycle we are now talking about how the no longer living might vote. Even if you can’t stand either candidate or stomach much more of this campaign, it might be fun to think about the dead vote.

Years ago, when I lived in Illinois, I wrote a parody of a political science project on the dead voters in Mayor Daley’s Chicago. My fictional researchers said that commentators were premature when they assumed that the dead vote was evidence of corruption. Before social scientists could reach that conclusion they would need empirical data. Someone would have to contact the dead and ask them why they voted for the Democratic ticket and that would require sophisticated séance survey techniques.

My fictitious researchers concluded that the dead have many reasons to vote for Democratic candidates. The séance survey subjects complained that they are a disenfranchised group — the real silent majority — forced to reside in segregated and overcrowded conditions outside the center of the city.

They suffer discrimination. Most of the dead are unemployed; only a few collect Social Security. They get very little respect. It has to hurt when people compare you to a doornail.

And then there are the subtle forms of discrimination. Sure, some of your best friends are deceased, but would you let your son or daughter marry one of them?

My invented political scientists were not really surprised that the dead were inclined to vote for the party that traditionally helps the downtrodden and the disadvantaged. They observed that only the dead are actually able to endure presidential debates from beginning to end. I concluded my parody with the observation that the small number of dead voters in Chicago was probably the vanguard of what would someday become the nation’s largest underground movement.


Yes, it is easy to make jokes about the dead vote.

But Trump and his cohort are not joking. They are literally saying that the election will be illegitimate, stolen, and the product of fraud because the other side will bring out their dead.

Is it true that voter rolls often have the names of people who are no longer alive or no longer living at a listed address? Of course it is. Keeping the rolls up to date is a difficult and often underfunded task all across the country. In a large, diverse and dynamic nation voter registration rolls will never be perfect.

Are there isolated counties, or precincts, or periods in American history when corrupt officials have used errors in voter registration to cast illicit votes? Of course there are. In close elections, or in jurisdictions where political machines control entire communities, those illicit votes have made a difference.

But it is a long way — a very long way — from those observations to the accusation that the forthcoming presidential election will be decided by zombie voters. We are protected in this country by federalism that divides our voting laws into 50 different systems, and then divides them further by empowering local officials to supervise election procedures. There are so many levels of government involved in American voting that the national manipulation of election results is nearly impossible.

Actual scholars (not the comic kind I invented for my parody) have conducted serious studies of voter fraud and repeatedly concluded that proven cases of fraudulent in-person voting are exceedingly rare. It happens, but in numbers so small that it could never tilt the outcome of a national election unless that election — like the one in Florida in 2000 — was decided by a razor-thin margin. And in those rare cases, where the result is essentially a tie, every conceivable error in voting procedures, intentional or accidental, matters in determining the outcome.

So, when Trump or his supporters rattle off the number of deceased persons on voter registration rolls, are they giving us an accurate number? Yes, they are. When they imply that imperfect registration rolls will mean that the election can’t be legitimate, are they pointing to a real problem? No, they are not.

The thing you need to know about the dead people whose names are still on voter registration rolls is that they very rarely vote. And there is a reason why they very rarely vote. They’re dead.

W&L’s Lind Talks About Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin

KRR_0774-e1477933255330-400x600 W&L's Lind Talks About Charlie Brown and the Great PumpkinStephen Lind

Stephen Lind, assistant professor of business administration, celebrates Halloween with a talk about Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin on The Academic Minute.

You can hear his talk online at The Academic Minute.

W&L’s Community Grants Committee Accepting Fall Proposals

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 2016 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2016 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2016-17 cycle.

During the second round of the 2015-16 evaluations held in May 2016, 19 organizations submitted proposals for a total of over $77,000 in requests. The University made $24,757 in grants to 10 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • Boxerwood Project NEST
  • City of Lexington Office on Youth
  • Lylburn Downing Middle School
  • Mission Next Door
  • Rockbridge Animal Alliance and Cats Unlimited
  • Rockbridge Ballet
  • Rockbridge Historical Society
  • Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force
  • Waddell Elementary School Music Department
  • Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:


The second round of proposals for 2016-17 will be due on Friday, April 14, 2017.

Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450

Timothy Gaylard’s “Leonard Bernstein: An Overview of the Life and Career” Alumni College 2016

One would be challenged to name a more versatile and talented American musician than Leonard Bernstein. He excelled in all areas of music-as a conductor, composer, performer, and educator. From the moment in 1943 when, at the age of 25, he filled in as a last minute replacement for Bruno Walter, conducting the New York Philharmonic for a live radio broadcast, he established himself as one of the most talented musicians of a new generation. Eventually he would become the first American-born conductor of that illustrious orchestra, a relationship that would continue for the rest of his life. He was responsible for introducing audiences to repertoire that had long been ignored, especially the challenging works of Charles Ives and the mammoth symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Bernstein was an inspiring conductor who drew out the best from his fellow musicians. He was also a talented pianist who often played concertos with the orchestras he was conducting. Invited to conduct all of the greatest orchestras in the world, the most memorable assignment was the performance on Christmas Day in 1989 when he led an international assemblage of musicians in Beethoven’s Ninth to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.As a composer, Bernstein revealed his incredible versatility by writing classical works for orchestra, chorus, piano solo, and chamber ensembles. But he is probably best remembered for his Broadway musicals, bringing a classical sensibility and craft to an essentially popular art form. With its driving rhythmic energy, melodic appeal, and colorful but accessible harmonies and textures, Bernstein’s style was distinctively American.

Learn more about W&L’s Alumni College and look for other exciting programs to attend or watch live online.

NPR Executive to Speak on Bias in Journalism

Keith Woods, vice president of diversity in news and operations at NPR, will deliver the keynote address for the 62nd Ethics Institute in Journalism at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Watch this event live on Livestream.com.

The title of Woods’ talk is “Combating the Brutality of Bias with Great Journalism.” It is free and open to the public. The institute is funded by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and is co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

keithwoods_30-400x600 NPR Executive to Speak on Bias in JournalismKeith Woods, vice president of diversity in news and operations at NPR

Woods leads the development of NPR’s vision and strategy for diversity as a member of the Executive Leadership Team and the Office of the President. His focus is to help NPR and member stations strengthen the wealth of diversity in content, staff, audience and the work environment.

“In a time fraught with biases so brutal people feel pummeled and polarized, journalism offers an opportunity for understanding and civil discourse. To address this issue, I sought out Keith Woods for his journalistic expertise in ethics and diversity,” said Aly Colón, the Knight Professor of Media Ethics at W&L.

“He understands the complexity of the contradictions we face. His diversity leadership at NPR, and previously at the globally-known Poynter Institute for journalism, enables Woods to provide a perspective that will educate and elevate the public conversation on bias and journalism.”

Woods joined NPR in February 2010 after 15 years at the Poynter Institute, a training center for professional journalists, spending his last five years there as its dean of faculty. Prior to the Poynter Institute, he spent 16 years as a reporter, write and editor at The Times Picayune in New Orleans.

He has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity and was previously the Institute’s director of diversity. He regularly writes and speaks on race and media.

Woods is the co-author of “The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity” (2006, Columbia University Press).

Woods has consulted with most of the leading U.S. news organizations, and worked with faculty at journalism schools across the country to help better incorporate diversity in their teaching. He has also served as chairman of two Pulitzer Prize juries.

“Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe”

The Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University will present a panel discussion on “Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe” on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons at W&L. The discussion is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the 2016-18 Center for International Education Colloquium on Borders and Their Human Impact, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The participants are:

  • David Farrell, professor of politics, University College, Dublin;
  • Richard Katz, professor of politics science, Johns Hopkins University;
  • Krzysztof Jasiewicz, professor of sociology, Washington and Lee University;
  • Mark Rush, director, Center for International Education, Washington and Lee University.

“Brexit is only the latest manifestation of democratic tensions within Europe,” said Rush. National sovereignty gave rise to Greek protests about EU economic policies. Immigration pressures are manifest throughout the EU and played an important role in putting the Brexit vote on the British political agenda.

“In Spain, the people are on the verge of their third election in 12 months because economics and political pressures have split the major parties and divided the party system in a way that prevents the formation of a new government. The migration crisis in Germany has been the focus of this semester’s German Law in Context symposium at the law school and will be the focus of the upcoming Institute for Honor in November. The panelists will discuss the Brexit vote and place it in the context of broader tensions affecting European Democracy.”

farrell-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"David Farrell, University College, Dublin

Farrell, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, is a specialist in the study of parties, elections, electoral systems and members of parliament. His research focuses on the role of deliberation in constitutional reform processes.

Selected publications include “The Election in Context” in “How Ireland Voted 2016” (co-author, 2016); “Conclusion and Reflection: Time for an Electoral Commission for Ireland” in Irish Political Studies (2015); and “Electoral Systems: A Comparative Introduction” (second ed., 2011; 2001).

In 2016, Farrell was reelected to speaker of the council of the European Consortium for Political Research. He was first elected to that position in 2013. In 2012, Farrell was elected as president of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. He is founding co-editor of Party Politics.

katz-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Richard Katz, Johns Hopkins University

Katz’ research focuses primarily on political parties and electoral systems in the industrialized democracies of Europe, North America and the British Commonwealth. He has also published work on public support of the arts, the European Union and electoral behavior. His books include “A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems” (1980, 2007); and “Political Institutions in United States; (2007); and “Democracy and Elections” (1997), as well as numerous edited and co-edited volumes.

He serves on the executive committee of the ECPR and as chair of the core group of experts on party regulation for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Katz is a past editor of the European Journal of Political Research and of the EJPR Political Data Yearbook, and has served, or is serving, on the editorial boards of the Journal of Politics, Representation, the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, the Canadian Journal of Political ScienceIrish Political StudiesParty Politics and European Union Politics.

jasiewicz-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Krzysztof Jasiewicz, Washington and Lee University

Jasiewicz, the Ames Professor of Sociology, has taught and/or held fellowships at Warsaw University, Harvard, Oxford, U.C.L.A. and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, among others.

He has published extensively on elections, voting behavior, party systems and political attitudes in Poland and other Central European states. His recent publications include articles in the Journal of Democracy, East European Politics and Societies, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Problems of Post-Communism and European Journal of Political Research, as well as chapters in edited volumes, in English, Polish and French. Jasiewicz is the co-editor of the journal East European Politics and Societies and Cultures.

rush-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Mark Rush, Washington and Lee University

Rush is the Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law and the director of International Education. From 2010-2013, he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Rush’s scholarly work and interests include presidential powers over foreign affairs, international politics, the Middle East, judicial activism, elections and democratic reform, civic education, higher education and law and sports.

He has written extensively on U.S. politics, constitutional law in the U.S. and Canada, elections and democracy around the world, and global affairs. He co-authored “Judging Democracy” (2008) and numerous additional articles in journals such as Presidential Studies, The Review of Politics, Publius, The McGill Law Journal, The Journal of Law and Politics, and PS: Political Science and Politics. His writings have also appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Richmond Times and The Roanoke Times. He is also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and the Arabian News Network.

‘Welcome’ in Seven Languages

Every fall, Washington and Lee University welcomes a group of foreign language teaching assistants to campus. This year’s group of seven assistants includes natives of Japan, Austria, France, Morocco, Russia, China and Argentina.

While W&L classes are never taught by TAs, the foreign language TAs do assist during classes. They also conduct language tables over lunch or dinner where students can practice speaking the languages they are studying, and the TAs will spend time this year helping to develop cultural events on campus. Some events in development include a Moroccan tea and a Middle Eastern dance event. Keep an eye on the campus calendar for more information about these events.

In addition, the foreign language teaching assistants are on hand to assist anyone in the W&L community who is planning a trip to their home country, and they help with a study-abroad advising night and orientation meeting each term.

Mark Rush, director of international education at W&L, said the TAs are a valuable addition to campus life for many reasons. He said students who are studying a foreign language benefit from hearing that language in as many different voices and speaking styles as possible.

“They are another voice, literally, that students can hear in the classroom if the teacher wants to do that,” Rush said. “That helps your ear to develop.”

This year’s crop of FLTAs brings an array of diverse experiences and interests to Washington and Lee. Each TA completed a brief Q&A to offer more information about his or her background and hobbies. Click the link to read each one, and please welcome our FLTAs to campus!

Welcome FLTA Michiko Nakada

How to say “Welcome” in Japanese: Yōkoso

Michiko Nakada
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

NakadaMichiko_0005_091616__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Michiko NakadaMichiko Nakada

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m from Nagoya, in the middle of Japan. I mainly studied Japanese culture at Nanzan University. Nanzan University is also where some W&L students have studied Japanese for study-abroad in past years. I’m interested in not only the cultural side of Japan but also Japanese as a second language. So I really enjoyed studying them. I wish I could study more in the future.

Nagoya might not be as famous as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, but it has lots of unique and interesting things to experience. From the point of view of Japanese history, Nagoya is one of the most important places. In the Sengoku period (age of civil war), there were many famous samurais, and the most well-known three samurais are all related to the place of Nagoya deeply. So, if you are interested in them, you’ll definitely enjoy Nagoya if you visit someday.

I also strongly a visit to Inuyama Castle near Nagoya city — that is one of the most beautiful Japanese castles.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA?

Before coming to Washington and Lee University, I’d worked for a company for six years. I actually liked my job. I could meet various customers in many fields and I think I’d done something worthwhile. However, when thinking about the future, I always imagined going back to school to study more and becoming a kind of language teacher of Japanese. Although six years might be a little long to change something, finally I quit the job and started my new career.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I really love the beautiful nature in Lexington. Lexington is very quiet and peaceful, and I can enjoy amazing star-watching at night. I love Washington and Lee’s Japanese program, including the professors and students. (Unfortunately, I don’t know about other students but I’m pretty sure they all must be nice.) The program is really thoughtful and fun. They always search for something new and exciting for students. The students are also great. They always try to do their best and know how/what difference of culture brings them. I hope they’ll have a new style of thinking from the diversity.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I’d love to do something new that I can never experience in Japan. I usually stay in my TA’s office room or East Asian languages department and talk with Japanese professors or students. I know there are very nice other professors and students at Washington and Lee, so I’m looking forward to seeing them more. It must be very exciting. Moreover, I expect my English to improve. Because I always speak in Japanese in class — it is very good for students — I’m pretty worried about my English.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I’d like to go to graduate school next for studying linguistics or Japanese pedagogy.

After I get a master’s degree, I’d like to find a job related to JSL. I’m not sure yet whether in Japan or not.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I like karaoke, listening to music, watching movies, shopping, eating and so on. I am a little sorry that there is no Japanese-style karaoke here. So, I try to find time to sing loud in my apartment when my housemate is out. In my free time, I enjoy watching dramas or movies here. Because I haven’t watched them a lot before, now I’m looking for some nice ones. If you have any recommendations, please let me know via email or something.

Reach out to Michika at nakadam@wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Anna Jerusalem

How to say “Welcome” in German: Willkommen

Anna Jerusalem
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

JerusalemAnna_0003_091416__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Anna JerusalemAnna Jerusalem

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Anna Jerusalem and I am 28 years old. I grew up in a tiny village in the very south of Austria, close to the border of Italy and Slovenia. There, I lived with my parents and my two older siblings for 20 years. Traveling, exploring and living in and with other cultures has always been an important part of my life, because my parents have been working closely with humanitarian organizations all over the world. Thus, after finishing high school, I decided to spend some time abroad. I visited many places in Europe and Asia, traveled around Africa, and also spent several months in North America. My experiences abroad and my parents’ dedication to their work have strengthened my interests in the two fields of health care and education, which have accompanied my academic career ever since. While I am currently in my fourth year of the teaching degree program for English and psychology/philosophy at the University of Graz, I have just successfully completed the requirements for a master’s degree in management in the health sector with a specialization in health promotion.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

The reason why I chose to apply for this FLTA position is that it is a wonderful opportunity of cultural and academic experience. I do not only have the chance to apply my pedagogical skills, but also to immerse myself in a totally different culture.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I really enjoy the familial atmosphere in Lexington.

 Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I would love to travel along the eastern coast of the United States.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I will finish the teaching degree program at the University of Graz and will start to work as a part-time research fellow at the University of Applied Sciences, where I continue my research in health literacy in educational settings.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

When I am not at university or traveling, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and transform it into a labratory where I try out different cooking experiments. I really enjoy being at home, having friends and family over for a good meal and to catch up on our lives.

Reach out to Anna at jerusalema17@mail.wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Lucía Cespedes

How to say “Welcome” in Spanish: Bienvenido

Lucía Cespedes
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

CespedesLucia_0008_091416__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Lucía CespedesLucia Cespedes

Tell us about yourself. 

Hi! My name is Lucía, and I come from Córdoba, Argentina. It’s the country’s second largest city, big and busy, with vibrant cultural and nightlife. It is also home to the National University of Córdoba, the oldest in Argentina. So I was fortunate enough to study in the same city where I grew up. This year I finished my studies in social communication, and I have two more years to go in my English language and literature major.

 What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

Ever since I started university I’ve been looking for opportunities to study abroad. The faculty of languages at my university regularly sends out emails with information on exchange programs, scholarships, and so on. I read about the FLTA position at W&L and it seemed like an excellent option to have the experience of studying in an American university while acting as ambassador of my own language and culture. I applied and here I am!

 What is your favorite part about the area so far?

The university facilities are truly impressive, and I love the green and open spaces on campus, but what I like best so far is being able to leave my door unlocked and feeling safe anyway. This is a welcome change!

 Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

My timing is perfect as regards celebrations – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year … I’m really looking forward to those! Of course, I also want to travel around and visit as much as I can.

 What are your plans for when you return home? 

I will probably apply for a Ph.D scholarship in some area of the humanities or social sciences, most likely sociology. I would like to be a scientist and researcher.

 What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I love reading and getting lost in whatever universe the writer is opening to the reader. This applies to TV series, too — I watch a lot of them! Cities and towns are also universes by themselves, so when I have the time, I like just walking around and trying to notice the little details. Oh, and I also love cooking!

Reach out to Lucía at cespedesl17@wlu.edu.