9/24/2004

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Contact: Barbara Ballard, (785) 864-1417

KU's Civic Literacy Week to feature open forums with congressmen, candidates

LAWRENCE -- Civic Literacy Week at the University of Kansas begins Sunday, Sept. 26, and will include concerts, voter-registration drives, debates, lectures and open forums across campus through Saturday, Oct. 2.

Barbara Ballard, associate director of civic programming and public outreach at the KU's Dole Institute of Politics, is coordinating the events. These will feature current and past members of Congress as well as congressional candidates in an effort to engage KU students in the political process. KU's Student Legislative Awareness Board is a key sponsor of the events and programs, which are free and open to the public.

Featured guests will include U.S. Reps. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Jim Ryun, R-Kan., as well as Democratic congressional candidate Nancy Boyda and Republican congressional candidate Kris Kobach. Gary Hart, former Colorado senator and presidential candidate, also will be featured.

The week kicks off Sunday, Sept. 26, with Rock the Park from 1 to 4 p.m. in South Park, near 11th and Massachusetts streets.

On Monday, Sept. 27, events include an open forum featuring Boyda and Moore from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wescoe Beach, in front of Wescoe Hall.

Sept. 28 events include MTV's Choose or Lose, which will bring its 2004 voter-registration campaign, 20 Million Loud, to Wescoe Beach from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

That evening, Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh will be the guest speaker for "Student Involvement in Presidential Elections" at 7 p.m. at the Dole Institute. A reception will follow.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, an open forum from noon to 1 p.m. on Wescoe Beach will feature Ryun.

Congressional candidate Kobach will be featured in an open forum from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 30, on Wescoe Beach.

That evening, the Hall Center for the Humanities Lecture Series will present Hart at 7 p.m. at the Lied Center of Kansas. The first 2004 presidential debate will be shown at 8 p.m., and Hart will moderate an open discussion immediately afterward.

Diana Carlin, dean of KU's Graduate School and International Programs and a coordinator with the voter educator program Debate Watch, also will moderate a discussion after the debate broadcast at 8 p.m. in the Jayhawk/Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union.

Events conclude Saturday, Oct. 2, with the Women's Civic Leadership Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kansas Union. Pre-registration is required. E-mail stclair@ku.edu.

For a complete list of Civic Literacy Week events, visit http://www.ku.edu/~slab/. Other sponsors include the Dole Institute, Kansas Memorial Unions, KU Civic Literacy Committee, Rock the Vote, Student Senate, Student Union Activities, KU College Republicans, KU Young Democrats, the Department of Communication Studies and Sunflower Broadband.

KU is a partner institution in the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, led by Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The Dole Institute of Politics, established at KU in 1997 to honor the former U.S. senator and KU alumnus, is designed to foster new thinking on major policy issues and encourage student participation and citizen involvement in public service. The facility, dedicated in July 2003, is home to the world's largest congressional archive.

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