Students at Hudson Valley put their knowledge of government to the test.
The Hudsonian took to the campus and asked questions pertaining to the names of political figures and the functions of certain government bodies. Their responses suggest that students have a limited knowledge of their own government.
Liam Lillx, a political science student, did not know who the current Vice President is. Lillx said that our current vice president is named, “John Bison of Delaware.”
Brandon Clark, a criminal justice major who was questioned about the Supreme Court, felt that their purpose was to deal with the infringement on basic human rights.
“They make sure people’s civil rights aren’t violated,” he said.
Engineering student Austin Elliot said, “Their job is to essentially analyze laws that get passed and decide whether they are constitutional.”
“[The Supreme Court] is the final court, so once something has gone through different courts, the decision there is final. It can’t be changed for the most part,” said digital media student Luke Maxwell.
Besides the Supreme Court, students were asked what they believed to be the most controversial power that exists at the executive level.
Nicole Adami, a psychology major, suggested that it could be “the Veto power,” as the refusal to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevent its enactment into law.
John Farcar said, “President Obama granted millions of immigrant children from Honduras into the United States [with an executive order].”
When biological science major Devon Augustine was asked if Abraham Lincoln really freed the slaves, he said, “I mean not physically, but his actions in World War II were basically saying, ‘Free the slaves in the south and stuff’.”
“By the Emancipation Proclamation, he freed all slaves in the way that he was seizing property from the rebels. He also proposed the amendment, but it wasn’t until after his death that all the votes were counted and it was signed,” said Farcar.
Maxwell felt that Lincoln freed the slaves indirectly. “It was something that was set up to fall into place, but he [wouldn’t] have the controversy of being the person who [freed the slaves].”
Students who were questioned about The War of 1812 had minimal answers about or knowledge of the event.
Digital media student Jason MacGregor said he did not know anything about the war. “I specifically remember taking the regent exams and dreading if that was going to be on it because I knew nothing about it.”
“The War of 1812 was the result of an embargo that both the French and the British had on the U.S. during that time period. The U.S. passed a law saying that if one of them decided to stop embargoing them they would declare war on the other. The French lifted their embargo and we declared war on Britain,” said Farcar.
“It was really the true test of America as a nation. We were sending ships over and we were trying to trade with France as well as England and of course everybody knows that Napoleon was fighting England along with everyone else around him,” said Student Senate Vice President Stephen Pelletier.
Although some students with firm grasps of history could describe the war, a majority of students attributed their general lack of history knowledge on their high school education.
“This is like 8th grade knowledge. I should know this,” said fine arts student Gduo Gott.
“I feel like after I graduated [high school], I just forgot all of this stuff,” said sonography student Erika Tessitore.