News & Events
Nearly 400 members of the campus community filled the Campus Center ballroom to hear Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discuss their views on a wide range of topics.
The program began with President Dana Mohler-Faria posing questions to the two guests. Following that, a half dozen BSU students got a chance to pose their own questions.
Dr. Warren is a professor at Harvard Law School and would have been happy to continue a life of teaching and research, she said. However, with the economic crisis of 2008, she found herself thrust into the center of the storm.
After recounting her journey as "a daughter of a maintenance man to a professor at a fancy pants university," she discussed her time serving on the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, commonly known as the bailout of the country's financial system.
Concerned that the regulatory atmosphere would remain unchanged in the wake of the crisis, she decided that more was needed. "The question is, 'What are the rules going to look like coming out the other side?'" she said. "No one was talking about what was going on at the family level."
This led Dr. Warren to establish the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Last September, she launched her challenge against Republican Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Warren addressed the main tenets of her platform. The solution to the current unemployment and economic crisis "isn't rocket science," she said. What's needed is a jobs bill and investment in the future, particularly in education, infrastructure and research and development," she said.
"Are we going to be the kind of county that makes the investment in those who have already made it, or are we going to invest in those who are coming up?" she said. "That's the way I see it."
Sec. Albright also shared a bit of her life story, including her time as a student at Wellesley College. "I love Massachusetts," she said. Famous for her brooches, the secretary boasted that in honor of coming to BSU she was wearing one adorned with a bear.
She fielded questions on several topics, including whether the United States should get involved militarily in Syria. She said bombing is not the answer, instead recommending a mix of sanctions, diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
"We are safer when other countries are not fighting each other and when they have democratic governments," she said. "The question is what we can do and where we can accomplish it."
Student questions ranged from same-sex marriage (both women were against the Defensive of Marriage Act or similar prohibitions), the role of China in the world today, drug cartels in Mexico and the ways in which Dr. Warren, if elected, would address some current legislative issues.
Students seemed impressed by what they heard.
"I agree with a lot of what she said," said Kelsey Bryant of Marshfield, a communication studies major. "I thought she was amazing."
However, Kaitlin Murray of Kingston, a political science major, had some questions.
"She's very forceful on lowering student debt, but I don't know how she's going to do that and where the money is going to come from," she said.
The event was held as part of BSU's Center for Legislative Studies Center's Distinguished Speaker Series. The center has also invited the other candidates for senate, Marisa DeFranco and incumbent Scott Brown. (Story and photos by John Winters, G '11, Office of University Advancement; video by Moakley TV Studio)
VIDEO: Elizabeth Warren and Madeline Albright field questions at BSU.