40th Model U.S. Senate features scholar

Stetson University will host the 40th annual Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate on March 17-19, 2011. The public is invited to a free lecture by noted congressional scholar Walter Oleszek, on Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m. in the Stetson Room, second floor of the Carlton Union Building, 131 E. Minnesota Ave. The title of Oleszek’s speech is “The Contemporary Senate. Is it really broken?”

Founded in 1971 by Stetson Political Science Professor T. Wayne Bailey and then political science student John Fraser, Stetson’s Model U.S. Senate is “the nation’s oldest collegiate level model senate,” said Stetson Associate Professor of Political Science David Hill. This experience will allow the 100 students in attendance, from Stetson and 11 visiting schools, “to take an active role in the American legislative process,” Hill said, “rather than learn through the traditional classroom model.” During the three-day session, “students will assume the role of sitting U.S. senators and attend committee meetings and hearings, press for the passage of their assigned bill, caucus in their respective parties, and debate and vote on the Senate floor,” Hill said. Students will not be arguing their own opinions, but those of the senators they are assigned to portray.

Keynote speaker, Oleszek is the senior specialist in American national government at the Congressional Research Service. In 1993, he served as policy director of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. Oleszek is the author of several books, including “Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process,” “Congress and its Members” and “Congress Under Fire: Reform Politics and the Republican Majority.”