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Letter to Members of the United States Senate Urging Support for the Political Science Program at the National Science Foundation

March 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Last week, Senator Coburn (R-OK) submitted an amendment (SA 65) to the Mikulski-Shelby Amendment (SA 26) to H.R. 933. Amendment SA 65 includes a call for the elimination of funding for the political science program at the National Science Foundation. Today, the Senate reconvenes to consider amendments to the bill.

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The following is being released by the American Political Science Association:

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March 15, 2013

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the American Political Science Association (APSA), I urge you to vote to preserve the political science program at the National Science Foundation, and to oppose any amendments that might target it for elimination.

Arguments for its elimination misunderstand the breadth and importance of political science research for the national interest, and do not appreciate its integral place in the nations’ interdisciplinary and world class scientific research agenda. Singling out any one field of science for elimination is short-sighted and misguided, and poses a serious threat to the independence and integrity of the National Science Foundation. And singling out political science for elimination from the national science agenda would be a remarkable embarrassment for the world’s exemplary democracy.

Political science research addresses questions that are fundamental to our national interest. Political science is the only discipline devoted to learning how to make democracies work better. Political science scholarship is critical to advancing national security, indeed the NSF political science program was invited by the Department of Defense to conduct scholarship deemed essential to understanding terrorism and global threats. Political science research furthers our understanding of how to develop public policies that effectively and efficiently respond to natural disasters, health care delivery, global human rights, and the other challenges we face. We would welcome the opportunity to present to you specific examples of such political science scholarship and its impact in each of these areas, including showcasing the work by scholars in your state.

Furthermore, political science research is integral to achieving the full national benefit of all the sciences. This is recognized in appeals to you by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Universities, and by the Congressional charge for the National Science Foundation itself, to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense….” Political science research has a long history of contributing in instrumental ways to each of these goals and to the public good broadly conceived.

Grounding political science scholarship at the National Science Foundation assures political independence, rigorous peer review by experts in the field, interdisciplinary linkages, and long-term commitment to building scholarly capacity for the future. Removing the political science program at NSF would eliminate an invaluable source of knowledge for identifying, explaining, and resolving domestic and international issues of peace, freedom, and democracy; weaken the national science agenda; and threaten the integrity of the National Science Foundation and the independence of science policy. The nation cannot afford to lose this investment.

We urge you to preserve the political science program at the National Science Foundation, under the coordination of the scientific leadership there.

Thank you for consideration of our views.

Jane Mansbridge
President
American Political Science Association
Harvard University

Michael Brintnall
Executive Director
American Political Science Association

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About the American Political Science Association
Founded in 1903, the American Political Science Association is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries. With a range of programs and services for individuals, departments and institutions, APSA brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors within and outside academe in order to expand awareness and understanding of politics.

SOURCE American Political Science Association


Source: PR Newswire