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Michaud and Hamel agree to debate at UMFK

August 6, 2004


Maine's second district congressman, democrat Michael Michaud, and challenger, republican Brian Hamel, have agreed to hold one of only two currently planned debates at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

The candidates' exchange, which is scheduled for Monday, October 18 on the Fort Kent campus, follows an October 15 debate on Maine Public Television.

The UMFK debate is planned as part of the university's ongoing participation in the American Democracy Project, a multi-campus initiative that seeks to create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Over the past month, officials with both the Michaud and Hamel campaigns and UMFK have been discussing the possibility of holding one of the debates for the second district congressional race in Fort Kent. Late last week, both campaigns agreed to the October 18 date.

Although event format details are yet to be worked out, discussions with both campaigns and the university are ongoing.

What is known at this time is that the exchange will provide UMFK students the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates and that the forum will be broadcast live on Channel X Radio and videotaped for later broadcast.

"This is one of the many activities planned at UMFK over the coming year under the banner of the American Democracy Project," said Robert Scott, vice president for academic affairs and coordinator of the ADP campus project. "This will provide our campus community the opportunity to become informed about the critical issues of importance in the upcoming election. Moreover it will allow our students to become engaged in the political process."

The goal of the national ADP project is to produce graduates who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy.

The project targets undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The project grows out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in local grassroots associations, and in other forms of civic engagement that are necessary for the vitality of our democracy.

The project, which initially involved 144 member campuses of AASCU has grown to include 183 schools, representing more than 1.3 million students.

Directed by AASCU, a project co-director for the American Democracy Project comes from The New York Times. Direction and support comes from a group of presidents and chancellors that serve on the AASCU Committee on the Undergraduate Experience.