Panel answers students post-election questions

nopicDilek Ocak cleared her throat and spoke her question clearly into the microphone.

Ocak, a first-semester graduate student in communication studies, was one of the many students squeezed into Kleymeyer Hall for the post-election panel discussion Thursday night.

“How have gender stereotypes played into this election?” Ocak asked the three panelists, Thomas Langhorn, Nick LaRowe, and Linda Negro.

Negro answered by posing the idea that that if Hillary Clinton would have been male with all her qualifications, she would have been elected president of the United States instead of Donald Trump.

“I am currently studying political communication,” Ocak said. “ I am actually writing a research paper on gender stereotypes. Everything they said in answer to my question confirmed what I have been researching and discovering.”

Ocak said she has been fortunate enough never to experience gender stereotypes first hand. She recognized that this is not the case for every woman.

“I have always had great and very open-minded employers,” Ocak said. “I have actually just been promoted.”

Langhorne, a journalist for the Courier & Press; LaRowe, an associate professor of political science; and Negro, former editor of the Courier & Press were asked to sit as panelists to answer questions for students about the relationship media had in the recent election process.

LaRowe said he was very excited to have been asked to sit as a panelist.

“I teach political science,” LaRowe said. “So I am obviously very interested in events such as these.”

LaRowe, along with his fellow panelists answered questions ranging from whether the allegation that journalists are biased is true, to whether the recent president-elect has independent electoral power.

The anomaly of Donald Trump was a recurring topic throughout the night.

“The things Donald Trump said during his campaign would have killed any other candidate,” Langhorne said.

Langhorne said Trump is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.

“He has a unique backstory. He has unique comments,” he said. “He knew how to command attention. He knew what he was doing the whole time.”

LaRowe said the media took the wrong approach to Trump.

“That was made evident in the polls. He said so many untrue things on a daily basis,” he said. “Instead of taking the time to try to understand Trump supports, reporters simply assumed the public would agree with the Washington stance on Trump. Clearly that was not the case.”

LaRowe said he hoped students left the panel knowing something they didn’t before.

“If anything I hope students learned it is important for them to be skeptical consumers of the media,” he said. “They must evaluate the questions that are not being asked. They must never forget they are receiving all their information second hand.”