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Local news covers Riley Institute, OLLI StraightTalk series

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state, spoke at Furman’s McAlister Auditorium Wednesday, September 6.

Last updated September 8, 2023

By Tina Underwood

The Riley Institute at Furman University and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted their annual StraightTalk program, a three-part series that convenes high-level experts on national security, elections and U.S. democracy. This year’s StraightTalk program, “Our Fragile Democracy,” focuses on the current state of the government in the wake of the January 6, 2021, attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

FOX Carolina covered the first session on Aug. 29 featuring alumni Temidayo Aganga-Williams ’08 who served as senior investigative counsel for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Mike McConnell ’66, a retired vice admiral in the United States Navy and director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996, and moderator Danielle Vinson ’89, Furman professor of politics and international affairs. The Riley Institute’s Jill Fuson, director of the Center for Critical Issues, spoke to reporters about the need for a nonpartisan, facts-based approach to understanding matters of democracy.

Several news outlets covered session two of StraightTalk, which took place Wednesday, Sept. 6, and featured Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, a conservative who didn’t bend to then-President Trump’s appeal to find 11,780 votes. Raffensperger was met with both applause for his actions from those gathered in McAlister Auditorium and protests from students associated with the Young Democratic Socialists of America who oppose Georgia’s Election Integrity Act. See coverage on WYFF News 4 (NBC), WSPA 7 News (CBS), and WHNS FOX Carolina.

Session three takes place Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6:45 in McAlister Auditorium.

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