Steele to Promote Political Diversity

The beginning of the year at Colgate brings with it Diversity Week, a time for Colgate students to celebrate their differences in opinion. This Fall, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) is visiting campus to give a lecture during Diversity Week.

Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Freedom & Western Civilization Robert Kraynak expressed his excitement about Steele’s projected lecture.

“Michael Steele’s selection as chairman of the Republican National Committee is highly significant for American politics–second only to the election of Barack Obama as President,” Kraynak said. “Steele is well qualified to speak about how racial attitudes are changing in this country and to explain why African Americans should be open to both political parties. He is also playing an important role in the policy debates about health care and the role of government in people’s lives. These are issues that all Colgate students should be discussing.”

And while politics tend to be a very heated topic of discussion on such a high-caliber campus as Colgate, Diversity Week brings about the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective.

“It will be important to show that ‘diversity’ does not necessarily mean diversity of race, gender, class, religion or sexual orientation,” President of Colgate’s College Republicans junior John Lyons said. “It means, most importantly, diversity of thought. For a campus to truly possess diversity, it must possess a wide range of political opinions.As one of the most prominent conservatives in the nation, Steele will provide a contrast to the typical view of diversity in the academic community.”

Despite his position as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Steele’s lecture is first and foremost of cultural and societal importance. Titled “Unity and Diversity: Common Ground in the 21st Century,” the lecture will be delivered to Colgate students, faculty and friends on Thursday, September 17 in Memorial Chapel. It will commence at 4:15 p.m.

Brought to campus by the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization, the President’s office and the Dean of Diversity office, Steele is the first African American RNC chairman. He previously served as the first African American Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, a post he held from January 2003 until January 2007. Steele also ran for a seat in the United States Senate in November 2006, but did not win. His record of higher education includes a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Steele’s combination of intellectual knowledge, political experience and diverse background merge to provide a unique and important perspective.

“Michael Steele brings genuine diversity of ideas to Diversity Week,” Kraynak said. “As a black Republican and prominent African American political leader, he brings a political perspective that is not usually heard on college campuses.This is an important part of diversity week – bringing ideas to the Colgate campus that might go against the grain of prevailing ideas on race and culture.”