Gatepost Interview: Christopher Latimer – Chair of the Political Science Department

Courtesy of Christopher Latimer

What is your role at Framingham State?

I’m an associate professor of political science. I’m also the chair of the political science department. I’m also the coordinator for the Placement Service Learning Center, and I’m also the pre-law advisor. And I’m also the coordinator of the 3+3 program. 

Can you describe the 3+3 program?

So, the 3+3 program has actually been started in many universities, especially the last 10 years, and that’s to provide students going and getting their B.A. or B.S., and then getting a law degree, and instead of seven years, which is what I had to do, it’s six years. And to make it as least complicated as possible, you would leave FSU your junior year if you got into the program. Then, the first year of law school, those credits would come back to FSU so you’d be able to graduate and walk across the stage. And then you go back to your second year of law school. We have a 3+3 program with Suffolk, a private law school, and UMass Dartmouth, which is a public law school, which makes it much cheaper.

Are there any other projects you’re working on currently that you’re excited about?

With the library project we have, we had money for an intern. And so, because the Civic Engagement and Service Learning Center is only two years old, we’re sort of building a foundation. So, one of the things we’re going to be doing is, we’re going to develop – we’ve been developing – a website. It’s not great – it’s OK. But I think for the beginning, it’s fine. The intern is going to help me, and then when I’m on sabbatical, whoever takes over for that semester is going to be working on sort of a pamphlet for the center. And then we’re going to hopefully promote the center more. We’ve been giving away thousand-dollar grants to faculty to work on specific projects that help local community members, local community organizations, and that was successful. During this time, with the virus and the pandemic, it’s become much more difficult, but hopefully, we’ll be able to continue on, just like we did with the grant, with the library, and have speakers come out and really try to promote. It’s difficult, but try to promote to students the importance of civic engagement, even if it’s something they might be able to do from home during this time. But it’ll be a little bit different. So one of the grants that we gave out – I really liked all the grants – but the one that really, sort of, when I was reading through it really attracted me, was when students from FSU end up giving free medical care – basic medical care – to individuals in the community that couldn’t afford it. So, of course we would fund that. These are the types of projects that the majors and all the different departments are doing, and I hope it gets promoted. I hope it gets well-known as it has at other schools. And I think FSU is a little bit behind the eight ball, but I think it’s going in the right direction, which is good. 

What do you think the importance of voting is?

As a political science teacher, I think voting is extremely important, but I would have to say it’s probably the easiest thing you could do in politics – is vote. 

[Voting is] extremely important during this election. I mean, if you are not happy with the way that Trump has been acting domestically, internationally, again, an unlimited number of things I’ve talked about in terms of what he’s been in my opinion failing at, I mean when we’re thinking about immigration, we’re thinking about the virus, when we’re thinking about trying to get rid of the last part of the Health Care Act that protected not only young people – because you can stay on your parents’ health insurance – but also people with pre-existing conditions. And to not have a plan already formulated or already maybe put on paper in case they actually went to the Supreme Court where they strike down the Health Care Act, I think is ludicrous. A plan should have been thought about, should have been ready to implement if they win with the Supreme Court. So, I think a lot of people of color, I think a lot of young people, I think they need to vote because I believe that if Trump wins again, he will have a huge continuing negative impact on their lives. I would say specific things in their lives like criminal justice, like getting a job, like health care, like responding to the virus. I could say hundreds of things, but I think that those would be the main things that I think are extremely important for young people, and people of color, and everybody. Voting is vital. 

Who do you think will win the election and why?

I was as foolish as everybody who believed that Hillary Clinton would have won four years ago, and I was so sure. Looking at the polls,  not only on the internet – I have four sites that I go to, to look for the polling data and also going on TV – and based on those two things, I thought she was going to win hands down, and she didn’t, obviously. So, I’m not 100% sure it’ll be Biden. I’m about 80% sure it’s going to be Biden. Because, I don’t know, he [Trump] sort of came out of nowhere and he’s able to win. It seems like everything that’s going on trying to suppress the vote nationally, trying to make everybody confused about having people call specific people within a state saying that you have to vote for Trump or else. That’s why I say 80% instead of 100%, I think Biden will win, but I’m only 80% sure.