LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are story ideas that may interest you from Bucknell University in February.
PLAYING OLYMPIC GAMES: When the 2018 PyeongChan Olympic Winter Games open this week, North and South Korean athletes will march together at the opening ceremony under a unified flag. But a Bucknell professor who is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and an East Asian political expert says don’t be fooled by the show of unity. Zhiqun Zhu, a professor of political science and international relations, says the two Korean teams walked together under one flag several times in the past. “Each time, it was hailed as a great moment of unity and peace before the event,” he said. “But before long, North Korea would resume its recalcitrant policy.” He doesn’t think it will be any different this time. “I will not be surprised if North Korea shoots a missile soon after the Olympic Games are over,” he said. “North Korea has been skillful in manipulating South Korea and playing big powers against each other. It wants to present this facade of a peaceful and normal nation in order to buy time and to squeeze economic and diplomatic concessions from others, especially South Korea.” CONTACT: Zhu, 570-577-2050, email@example.com.
DECONSTRUCTING GERRYMANDERING: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled to throw out boundaries for 18 congressional districts marred by partisan gerrymandering. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, refusing to overrule the decision to redraw the state’s congressional map. While that sets legal precedent, Bucknell political science professor Chris Ellis sees an even bigger Supreme Court decision forthcoming on partisan gerrymandering. “If the Court rules that some extreme forms of gerrymandering are unacceptable, then it’s likely that states will look to Pennsylvania’s new maps as a model for what is and isn’t acceptable,” Ellis said. He predicts Pennsylvania’s redrawn maps will be a net benefit to Democratic candidates, but more from the current political climate than the new maps. “This state will always elect more Republicans to the House than its partisan lean would suggest, simply because Pennsylvania’s Democrats, like Democrats in most states, are inefficiently distributed around the state, packing themselves into ultra-liberal urban areas.” CONTACT: Ellis, 570-577-1960, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FINDING UNDERSERVED TALENT: Bucknell affirmed its commitment to economic diversity within its student body when it joined the American Talent Initiative (ATI) last spring. The initiative currently comprises 81 colleges and universities united by their goals of enhancing efforts to recruit, enroll and support lower-income students. According to Bill Conley, vice president of enrollment, 10 percent of the Bucknell undergraduate student body currently receives Pell Grants or federal financial aid that does not need to be repaid. He says the University hopes to move Pell proportions to at least 15 percent in the next five to seven years. “The most recent research found that after graduating high school, only 10 percent of low socioeconomic status students earned a bachelor’s degree within eight years compared to 29 percent of middle income graduates,” Conley said. Bucknell President John Bravman will be attending the ATI president’s summit this month. CONTACT: Conley 570-577-1366, email@example.com.
CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org