Plaza Classroom 189
|Friday, March 23rd|
Alex Rant, Pepperdine University
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
This paper assesses whether there is causality between Left-Wing and Right-Wing Terrorist attacks in the United States. A Vector Auto-Regressive (VAR) Model is estimated for the two variables. A Granger Causality test and Impulse Response Functions are examined to understand the relationship between the two variables. Both terrorist attacks appear to Granger Cause each other, but an analysis of the Impulse Response Functions reveals that Right-Wing Terrorism yields a stronger response from Left-Wing groups than Left-Wing terrorism does from Right-Wing groups. Nonetheless, there are strong elements of causality and response between the two groups.
4:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Responding to increased awareness of the sexual assault epidemic on university campuses, California Senate Bill 967 mandates affirmative consent standards at schools receiving state financial assistance. Research into university policy regarding sexual assault often revolves around traditional conceptions of consent, previously lacking the uniform application of an intra-state standard dictated by the Senate Bill. Utilizing Most Similar Systems Design case-comparisons, this study analyzes eight California schools that differ in size, religious affiliation, and public/private status to explore if these variables impact their consent policies or the reporting rates of sexually-based crimes. The results demonstrate none of the monitored variables significantly impact consent definitions; however, a more robust consent definition potentially correlates to higher reporting rates of sexually-based crimes. This research has practical applications for policymakers and institutions interested in implementing affirmative consent policies.
Anna Boerwinkle, Pepperdine University
4:15 PM - 4:30 PM
Elections in Africa continue to be marred by electoral fraud and violence. Some citizens have trust in the integrity of their electoral process, while others claim the system is rigged. In the past thirty years, though, the international community has invested heavily in the deployment of international election monitors, who observe elections to identify and deter electoral fraud. But recent scholarship suggests a general unwillingness of monitors to explicitly speak out against fraudulent elections. Additionally, the findings of observers often contrast to opposition groups’ claims that certain elections were corrupt. This can lead to general public confusion about the true fairness of an election. This paper addresses two main questions. Firstly, during recent African elections, what factors were important in shaping citizens’ perceptions of the freeness and fairness of their election? Secondly, during the 2017 Kenyan presidential election, how did international monitors and opposition groups contribute to shaping these perceptions? To answer the first question, I use a 2016 survey administered in 34 African countries to conduct a linear regression to measure the effects of several variables on nationwide perceptions of electoral fairness. The 34 elections took place between 2009-2015. To answer the second question, I analyze multiple sources to understand the messages of the opposition group and the Carter Center, a prominent international election monitoring organization based in the U.S. The linear regression shows that when a country’s citizens report of many fair vote counts in the past, the recent election in that country is significantly more likely to be perceived as free and fair, as opposed to not free and fair. In the case study, I find that international monitoring organizations and opposition groups spoke publicly about similar themes, but had different messages, rhetorical styles, and means of communication. Findings from both parts of the study have implications for international election monitoring, public opinion, and democratization.
4:30 PM - 4:45 PM
As the traditional colonialist system collapsed in the latter half of the twentieth century, important considerations had to be made about the widening economic divide between developed and developing countries. Since then, the economic powers of the world have poured money, resources, and aid into underdeveloped African economies in the hopes of spurring cooperative development. However, as a result, new subversive forms of indirect economic, social, and political control have developed in what is referred to as “neo-colonialism”. In recent years, China has emerged as a major African investor, and has in turn had a significant hand in shaping the dynamics of African development. By operationalizing components of Chinese aid and investment programs, this paper applies a framework through a most similar systems case study that critically evaluates Chinese aid and investment in Zambia and Ethiopia. Subsequently, the findings of this paper underscore a complex and precarious relationship between foreign aid and investment, institutions, resources, and development.
4:45 PM - 5:00 PM
The Orlando and Las Vegas shootings were both attacks by a sole perpetrator on “soft target” entertainment venues and are the two deadliest mass shooting in American history. Both shooters were U.S. born citizens, used multiple weapons, obtained them legally, and methodically planned out how they would attack. While strikingly similar in nature and execution, the media covered the two shootings differently. Based on a content analysis I found that news coverage more often framed the Orlando shooting as a terrorist attack. In addition the Orlando coverage focused on the race and religion of the shooter. The Las Vegas shooting received no such labels in news coverage. To do so, I employ a content analysis of four major news outlets (CNN, NBC News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post) to examine if the frames the media has used in prior coverage of terrorist attacks and mass shootings persist in the coverage of these two events. I find Orlando coverage focused on the race and religion of the shooter, while Las Vegas coverage was more likely to discuss the shooter’s background in an attempt to understand why the shooter committed the act. This study offers insights into how the mass media reported on the two deadliest mass shootings in American history during an era when these tragedies feel a part of everyday life.
5:00 PM - 5:15 PM
How has the way senators communicate via Twitter shifted as a result of the transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration? With social media, specifically Twitter, becoming an incredibly relevant tool in general politics and campaigns, it is important to understand the ways in which it is most utilized by today’s elected officials. This study builds off research from Annelise Russell, examining the extent to which senators use partisan rhetoric on Twitter. I analyzed the Twitter feeds of all 100 senators during the month of July 2017, coding each tweet for partisan language. Russell found that during the Obama Administration, Republican senators used partisan rhetoric more frequently than Democrats in their tweets and suggested that senators from the party opposite the President may employ partisan rhetoric more often. I find support for this hypothesis—during the Trump Administration, Democrats used partisan rhetoric more frequently than Republicans.