government professor

Bartholomew Sparrow signs copies of his book, “Brent Snowcroft and The Call of National Security: The Strategist” after a discussion about it Thursday afternoon. Sparrow talked about the lasting impacts of Snowcroft’s work in National Security.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Former U.S. national security advisor Brent Scowcroft positively influenced foreign policy because of his tranquil childhood, government professor Bartholomew Sparrow said Thursday.

Scowcroft, who served under former presidents Gerald Ford and President George H. W. Bush, advised both administrations in an official and non-official capacity, according to Sparrow. Sparrow said Scowcroft’s ideal childhood influenced his ability to make sound policy decisions.  

“[His decisions] convey, it seems, how secure Scowcroft was growing up — secure psychologically, secure maturely, secure socially,” Sparrow said. “He had no status anxiety. He wasn’t motivated by a sense of deprivation.”

Sparrow said Scowcroft’s contributions to foreign policy were not as visible as other iconic advisors and presidents such as Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon and George Kennan because he preferred to work behind the scenes.

“He’s worked in small groups, in one-on-one closed meetings,” Sparrow said.

Sparrow said Scowcroft’s success as a national security advisor stems from a powerful combination of wisdom and a friendly personality.

“He has strong, well-informed views, but makes sure he’s willing to be persuaded by new evidence and strong arguments,” Sparrow said. “He listens. He is very serious, reserved and rightly been described as compartmentalized. He is affable; he plays pranks; also, to be sure, has a great sense of humor; he was not above making off-color jokes. He gets along well with others … in fact, the interns at his office at the Scowcroft Group in Farragut Square refer to him as ‘Yoda.’” 

Herbert Hurn, a UT alumnus and retired former sales manager at IBM, said he admired Scowcroft’s fact-based decision-making process.

“He looked at research and facts and developed his targets based on wisdom and logic rather than [on] an ideological [basis},” Hurn said. “He was doing what seemed to me what was best for America and best for the time.”

Kevin Merrill, a public affairs graduate student, said that he believes Scowcroft’s humble, friendly personality strengthened the organizations he worked for.

“He was a friend to so many different people and able to work organizations to their best efficiency and effectiveness by understanding their needs and how they cross-relate to his own needs,” Merrill said. “It’s very refreshing to know that there are leaders at the senior level who can step back and say, ‘I don’t know everything,’ or, ‘My answer is not the best answer.’”

In the final event of an on-campus human rights lecture series, government professor Paula Newberg said, despite the efforts of Pakistan’s human rights activists, the country still faces significant security risks.

“You look at a place like Pakistan, which is really my second home, in a way, and a place that I care about very deeply,” said Newberg, the chair in Pakistan studies and a former special advisor to the United Nations. “You’ll find a society where politicians now die for defending the rights of others, where journalists are in danger for telling the truth, where militancy has overtaken the capacity of the state to enforce legitimate order and where compromise has overtaken a clear view of the protectant mission of the state.”  

Newberg said states cannot succeed when they commit human rights violation against their own people.

“I have worked across Asia and Africa and Europe, and I have yet to find a state that can sustain itself and flourish when it persecutes or starves or ignores its own people,” Newberg said. 

Newberg’s lecture was part of the White Rose Society’s series “Overcoming Hatred: A Human Rights Symposium.” The society was founded in World War II by a group of German students resisting Nazi Germany with non-violent intellectual methods, which ultimately led to the executions of many of its members.

History professor Sumit Guha said the original members of the society stood against Nazi Germany despite the possible consequences.

“It’s an example to all of us in our time — I think [the members] just felt they needed to make a stand regardless of what the ultimate outcome was,” Guha said. “For all that they could calculate about the future, they could have perished completely unknown, so it’s one of those gestures of resistance that doesn’t even necessarily assume that there’s success.”

Kolby Lee, government senior and co-president of STAND, a student organization advocating against genocide, said the organization takes after the mission of the White Rose Society.

“We’ve really kind of taken from [the White Rose Society’s] message and so a lot of what our organization at UT does is A, Holocaust remembrance but B, more broadly, genocide awareness,” Lee, who introduced Newberg at the lecture, said. “We’re a core chapter of a large national student lead movement called STAND, and STAND really focuses on issues — mass atrocities all over the world.”

Newberg said that human rights violations can be precursors to larger governmental collapse.

“If you think about it, any country that abuses the rights of free expression or the rights of free association, you find that it is a country that may well be on the verge of imploding,” Newberg said.

In response to a Presidential Executive Order calling for an expert committee  to improve the voting prowess for citizens, government professor Daron Shaw surveyed local election officials throughout the U.S. last fall to better understand the challenges and successes encountered in past elections.

In March 2013, President Barack Obama called for the creation of a Presidential Commission on Election Administration, made up of lawyers, businessmen and professors from across the U.S.

In conducting his survey, Shaw said one of the biggest challenges he faced was trying to gain the contact information for thousands of local election officials. Once they had done that, Shaw and his team emailed and faxed the more than 7,700 local elections officials for whom they had contact information. The officials’ responses were amalgamated to discover inefficiencies in the overall election process.

“Local election officials mentioned several [challenges they faced],” Shaw said in an email. “Most common were the availability of poll workers — 18 percent said it was a “concern” in 2012 — and voter education — 13 percent.”

In the commission’s report, which was presented to Obama in January, the commission recommended no voter have to wait longer than 30 minutes to cast their vote. To counter long lines, the commission suggested improvements such as expanding online voter registration and early voting periods, using new technology to more efficiently operate polling places and mandating better communication of registered voter lists between states.

Christian Chanter , a radio-television-film and government sophomore, said he was deterred from voting in the 2012 presidential elections because of long lines at the Flawn Academic Center.  

“I even went … and saw the line, and I didn’t want to wait for two hours to spend two minutes to vote,” Chanter said.

Chanter said he had registered and was excited to vote in his first presidential election but ultimately didn’t have the extra time to spend in line.

According to research from the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, 61.6 percent of voting-eligible Texans reported being registered to vote in 2012, ranking Texas the 42nd state in national rankings of eligible citizens registered to vote. Voters aged 18-29, a demographic that includes the majority of University students, had some of the lowest voter turn outs in 2010, with 16.1 percent voting.

Grant Wiles, a government sophomore and campus field director for Students4Wendy, a student organization in support of Democratic candidate for governor, Wendy Davis, which holds voter registration drives twice a week, said factors such as not being registered in time due to lack of awareness could prevent students from voting.

“[Students] might not know how important their vote is,” Wiles said. “They can really make a difference.”

With classes beginning Wednesday, the UT campus will continue to mourn the death of former University President William Livingston.

Livingston died Aug. 15 at the age of 93. He began his career at UT as a government professor in 1949 and worked in various teaching and administrative roles in the following 60 years. His positions included chair of the government department, vice chancellor of academic programs and vice president and dean of graduate studies. He held the position of acting president of the University in 1992. More anecdotally, he is known as the voice of TEX — the 1990s telephone registration system. 

Livingston’s memorial service will be held Sept. 4. Steve Livingston, Bill’s son, said the University offered the use of the LBJ Auditorium for which the family was grateful. President William Powers Jr. is one of the scheduled speakers at the service. 

“Bill Livingston embodied all the best qualities of a university leader: erudition, eloquence, sweeping vision, warmth and good humor,” Powers said in a statement. “The University of Texas is a better place for his lifetime of service. He was an inspiration to generations of Longhorns, and we all will miss him.”

Livingston served in World War II in the U.S. Artillery and was injured in the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944. He earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service, according to Steve. 

Government professor Gary Freeman said he had known Livingston as a colleague and a friend since 1976 when Freeman first joined the department at UT. In his first interactions with Livingston, Freeman said he noticed his colleague’s friendliness, frankness and plainspoken manner.

“He was always trying to get on the same wavelength as his students,” Freeman said. “He could be a little goofy, a little funny and even a little outrageous.”

Freeman said Livingston had a remarkable mastery of the English language and would often impress his students with his broad vocabulary. Encouraging his students to be better writers proved to be a central part of Livingston’s teaching philosophy, and he would give many writing assignments to his students. He enjoyed reading his students’ works and would write detailed and thoughtful notes on their essays.

“[Livingston] had beautiful handwriting,” Freeman said. “He would write these exquisite comments on his students papers.”

In a 2009 article written to graduates of the government department, Freeman spoke of Livingston’s legacy.

“Livingston has been an exemplar of loyalty and an unwavering proponent of research and education, while insisting that all involved in higher education strive for and attain excellence,” Freeman wrote. “He lived these principles, instilling them in this department and this University, and we like to think that you, graduates of this department, are the better for it.” 

Friends came together to celebrate the life of James Roach, a former government professor who taught at UT for 45 years, on Thursday in the University’s Main Building.

A World War II veteran and a cultural diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, Roach died on Aug. 5.

He directed the Plan II honors program from 1965 to 1969 and received the Pro Bene Meritis award in 1993 for outstanding contributions to liberal arts at UT. In 2000, the UT Board of Regents established in Roach’s honor an endowed presidential scholarship, the James. R. Roach Endowed Fund in American Foreign Relations.

Bob Hardgrave, a retired government professor, said Roach’s legacy is his dedication to his students.

“He was a man who was deeply committed to teaching,” Hardgrave said. “I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever known who has had a greater impact through teaching on his students.”

While he was an undergraduate, Hardgrave took a course of Roach’s and eventually returned to UT to became Roach’s colleague and friend.

“His course led me to pursue a career in academic life as a professor,” Hardgrave said.

Hardgrave was impressed that Roach kept in touch with many of his students and wrote letters to them.

At the memorial, government professor emeritus Karl Schmitt said when he was new at UT, he felt overwhelmed as a new professor. Roach advised him just to stay a couple chapters ahead of the students, he said.

“He didn’t tell me how to teach — he encouraged me,” Schmitt said.

Roach, who was abroad often, encouraged Schmitt to see the world, eventually traveling on vacation to India with his wife.

“He helped me expand my view of the world,” Schmitt said.

Terri Webb Jonas, whose father was a professor emeritus and worked with Roach, said he was often at her house when she was growing up.

She recited a poem she wrote after his death called “Indian Jim,” in which she described how she imagined Roach travelling in India and throughout Asia.

At the ceremony, government professor John Higley said Roach had a strong attachment to Australia, reading a testament from Ross Terrill, a former professor from UT who is from Australia.

Terrill, who said most of his fond memories from Texas are because of Roach, said he looked through letters from Roach after his death, and they showed “the high value Jim placed on friendship.”

Government department chairman Gary Freeman said he was a stubborn man known for getting his way. Described as living very sociably but also in solitude, he lived alone almost his whole life and was never married. Freeman said Roach never learned how to use a computer, instead using his typewriter, and never owned a television.

“Jim Roach was a man of contradiction,” Freeman said. “He had more friends than anyone I’ve ever known. But he was also a solitary, private man.”