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Students learn by watching confirmation hearing in class


It was an intense day on Capitol Hill, as one of the women accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault spoke at a hearing.

Christine Blasey Ford said she is 100 percent certain a drunk Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Then Kavanaugh testified, defending himself against charges he said are absolutely false.

That confirmation hearing makes for a living history lesson for Tri-State students. History students at Quincy University got a break from their typical class today, as they watched the hearing on TV. Their professor pointed out that history repeats itself.

Quincy University Associate History Professor Justin Coffey broke down testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford, as his students watched live during class.

Sophomore Veronica Holtschlag appreciates the opportunity to learn from the hearing.

“It’s very important to make informed decisions and not to just be stuck in one mind set, so that you can have multiple different opinions,” Holtschlag said. “It’s very important to be in the know so you know what’s going on.”

Aside from being aware, there is another message that Coffey wants his students to take away.

Thursday’s confirmation hearing takes him back to to his college days, when he followed Anita Hill publicly testifying at a similar hearing.

“I remember exactly 27 years ago, on a Friday afternoon, I watched Anita Hill testify against Clarence Thomas and then I watched Clarence Thomas give his rebuttal,” Coffey said. “I was telling my students, history tends to repeat itself and it’s repeating itself today.”

Coffey hopes this lesson helps students understand that they’re the ones who can decide the future.

“Especially now that we’re, like all of us, getting to the voting age, it’s really important nowadays to know what’s going on,” senior Adam Rogan said.

Coffey said his students will remember what they learned Thursday, forever.

“This is an important day, not only in history, but in politics,” Coffey said. “I’m really glad my students are getting the opportunity to see history in the making.”

Coffey plans to have a discussion and debate with his class on Tuesday concerning the confirmation hearing.
He hopes his students continue to stay up-to-date with what’s going on.

Lawmakers will consider Thursday’s testimony and could make a decision on Kavanaugh’s appointment to the court as early as Friday.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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