First-year students at taxpayer-funded Rutgers University have been studying Democrat candidate for president Hillary Rodham Clinton during a one-credit course titled “A Woman for President?” The course features guest lectures from former Clinton campaign staffers and a field trip to the Clinton Global Initiative.
According to Gabriella Morrongiello, writing at Campus Reform, the class on Clinton offered at the New Jersey university is part of the discussion-based Byrne seminars, intended to help first-year students become acquainted with the college curriculum.
Rutgers Today states that the course discusses “how gender affects campaigns, media coverage and voting behaviors.”
The mostly female group of students taking the course took a field trip to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York City, an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation.
The students—who were about 10 years old when Clinton lost the Democrat primary to Barack Obama—met and posed for a photo with the former First Lady herself at CGI, which, according to its website, “convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Last month, Washington Post reporters Kevin Sullivan and Rosalind Helderman noted that critics of CGI have “long alleged… a blurring of its charitable mission with the business interests of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their corporate donors.”
The reporters interviewed Tony Rodham, brother of the former Secretary of State, who was involved in a scandal revealed in Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer titled Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. Rodham was granted an exceedingly rare mining permit from Haiti after the State Department sent the country $3.1 billion since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Students this semester in “A Woman for President?” also heard a lecture by Karen Kominsky, director of New Jersey’s 2008 Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.
“Electing a woman president will lift us up to a place we don’t even know about,” Kominsky said to the class, according to Rutgers Today. “It would be so empowering for women and girls and would change my life, my kids’ lives and your life.”
“This seminar made me understand just how important it is for all of us to have a woman as president,” Skyler Bolkin, a student participating in the course said, adding that “[i]t’s so exciting because Hillary Clinton has a much greater chance than any other woman now or in the past.”
Ruth Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, teaches the seminar and said about Clinton, “I’ve come to see this as her destiny. But I’ve learned that in electoral politics nothing is inevitable.”
Mandel believes the election of a female president will emphasize that America is continuing to strive toward becoming a fully inclusive democracy.
“When she lost in 2008, I didn’t see anyone on the horizon who would take on a national campaign and be viewed seriously as a credible candidate with a realistic chance of gaining a major party nomination and winning the presidency,” Mandel told Rutgers Today. “Hillary headed the line of credible, viable candidates, and she also stood at its end. She was the line.”
Nicholas Hansen, a Rutgers political science major who is supervised by Mandel, found that while some of the polls he has studied indicate Millennials hope Clinton will be elected the first female president in 2016, even those students very involved in politics know little about the former First Lady’s career.
A Rutgers student poll of 66 randomly-selected students of the university found that only half knew Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas, 10 percent thought she was the governor of New York State, and a third believed she was the speaker of the U.S. House.
“She still is a superstar, something that no one could have imagined 30 years ago,” said Hansen. Rutgers Today reports Hansen continues research with three other Rutgers students “on how instrumental Clinton has been in creating and supporting programs, organizations, and institutions dedicated to advancing women’s leadership.”