Deliberative Democracy Examines Immigration Issues

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University students will have the opportunity to examine immigration issues on March 4 as part of a national program designed to improve democratic processes.

WSU is one of 16 campuses across the country participating in a Deliberative Democracy initiative as part of the American Democracy Project sponsored by the American Association for State Colleges and Universities.

During spring semester, 1,000 students were offered the opportunity to answer a questionnaire asking about their attitudes toward immigration issues in the United States. The university's student senate chose the topic.

On March 4, students who have responded to the questionnaire will be invited to participate in student-facilitated discussions of some of the issues raised in the survey. They also will have the opportunity to ask questions of immigration experts: Paul Mero, Sutherland Institute; Agnes Chiao, United Way; Armando Solorzano, University of Utah; and Bill Evans, Utah Attorney General's Office. This panel discussion, scheduled for 1 p.m. in Shepherd Union Ballroom B, is open to the public.

After the deliberations, students will be surveyed again to see if their attitudes changed. "This isn't so much a debate as it is a larger examination of an issue that has a major impact on Utah and the nation," said Gary Johnson, associate professor of political science.

The WSU project is based on the process developed by Stanford University's Center for Deliberative Democracy, which is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion. The first deliberative polling project was introduced at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988.

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Gary Johnson, associate professor of political science
801-626-6697 • 

Kathryn MacKay, associate professor of history
801-626-6782 • 

Aaron Newman, assistant director, Student Involvement and Leadership
801-626-8912 •
Travis Clemens, assistant director of Media Relations
801-626-7948 •