University of Minnesota political science students watch Ford’s testimony intently, some tearfully

September 27, 2018

About 60 students in a political science course at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities spent Thursday morning watching C-SPAN, listening as Christine Blasey Ford delivered her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When Fords voice grew soft and shaky as she recounted her allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, the students in Professor Tim Johnsons Judicial Processes class went silent. Many leaned forward, their heads in their hands. A few blinked back tears.

When something like this is so relevant and so salient, its just a perfect fit to have the students watch whats going on, Johnson said.

Aside from the political and legal consequences of the confirmation hearing, Johnson also said it was important for young people to consider the social ramifications of Fords testimony.

Its something they need to think about no matter what side of the aisle they are on, Johnson said. They need to think about not only the implications for the U.S. Supreme Court but also the implications for women.

During a break in the hearing, Johnson stood at the front of the classroom and addressed the students, telling them that they were witnessing history.

This is the moment, he said later. This is a moment they will likely remember for the rest of their lives where they were when (Ford) was in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Earlier in the week, the students discussed how if Kavanaugh is confirmed, he would likely be on the Supreme Court for most of their adult lives.

Varshaa Thorali, a 21-year-old political science student, said that realization inspired her to encourage others to watch the hearing. She called her mother Thursday morning, telling her to tune in.

Its incredibly important to pay attention to this, she said. The Supreme Court impacts all of us.

For Victor Lechner, a 22-year-old political science major, listening to Fords opening statement was emotional. As Ford told senators about the alleged assault, Lechner tried to discreetly wipe away tears.

Lechner, who said he was sexually assaulted at 18, thinks there should be an investigation into Fords allegations. He doesnt have a stance on whether the Senate should vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but he said hell be watching closely and hopes other young people will be, too.

No matter what the outcome, Lechner said, I am just very grateful for Fords testimony.

Mara Klecker 612-673-4440

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