The impeachment of President Clinton and the impending Senate trial have left professors and students who work in government or media juggling their class and work schedules.
Professor Steve Roberts, who teaches two political communication classes about the relationship between media and government, said he and his students have had their schedules stretched by the impeachment process. Roberts appears regularly on CNN’s “Late Edition,” works for ABC radio and writes a syndicated newspaper column with his wife, ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts.
Roberts said covering the impeachment in the media has provided him with great material for his classes. He also said he has encountered both former and current students working in the media and on Capitol Hill who are involved in the issue.
Senior Rob Hendin, who works at CBS News as a part-time broadcast associate, said he has been balancing classes and a heightened work schedule since last January when Clinton’s affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky first became public. But he said his work schedule became busier than ever last semester.
“Every minute I wasn’t in class I was at work, pretty much all semester,” Hendin said. “(Final) exams were tough because I had to work reading week and study around my work schedule. Fortunately, my exams were over before the impeachment vote started.”
But some interns on the Hill were not affected by the impeachment debate. Senior Scott Gastel, an intern in Rep. Charlie Norwood’s (R-Ga.) office, said his office received more phone calls and letters from constituents, but he did not work extra hours because of the impeachment vote. Gastel said Norwood’s office concentrated on developing a health care bill rather than focusing on the impeachment because the views of Norwood’s constituents seemed clear on the issue of impeachment.
“Our district was heavily in favor of impeachment, so it wasn’t a big thing for us,” Gastel said.
Roberts said having students in his classes who are involved in the issue has been an asset to other students as well.
“Students who are involved help teach other students,” Roberts said. “It’s not just someone like me talking about their experiences, it’s other students talking about what they are doing.”
The impeachment process also has been a hot topic of discussion in several classes.
Professor Forrest Maltzman, who teaches a class on the American presidency, said his students discussed the impeachment process last semester, and he plans to assign readings on the Senate proceedings this semester. Maltzman said he will probably begin each class by discussing the impeachment.
“It’s interesting because it nicely illustrates the constitutional constraints put on the president, which is a large part of the class,” he said.