Janet Reno, former attorney general and candidate for Florida governor, held a Q&A session with students this week, organized and moderated by the UM Council for Democracy.
“I think Reno’s visit is significant in that some of our nation’s political leaders can realize that the University of Miami is an excellent institution with an intellectual and involved student body,” David McCombie, president of the UM Council for Democracy, said.
Reno, who graduated from Coral Gables High School, told the Miami Hurricane that she’s always glad to return to the area.
“I’ve visited Gables a lot since I graduated,” Reno said. “It’s always good to go back.”
Reno also told the Miami Hurricane that she respects UM President Donna E. Shalala’s work, both as UM president and as Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration.
“Shalala was a splendid Secretary of Health and Human Services and she understood the issues,” Reno said. “She could bring people together in a very effective way, and from what I’ve observed, she’s been doing the same thing at the University of Miami.”
During the event, the audience asked questions regarding both national and international issues such as the war, the environment, the economy, Florida elections, domestic security and her appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Students attended the event for a variety of reasons.
“I was hoping to hear some liberals talk for a change,” Elliot Stark, sophomore, said. “I watch too much CNN and I’m tired of that nonsense.”
“I’m just trying to get some insight into what she did when she was the attorney general,” Frank Bayless, senior, said.
Omid Ghaffari, junior, says that he was impressed by Reno’s answers during the discussion.
“I found Janet Reno to be very informative; she had interesting points of view and I really like the answers she gave,” Ghaffari said. “She really showed a lot more understanding of the situations here than she did when she was running for governor.”
Reno told the Miami Hurricane that she’s looking toward the future.
“I want to do some writing and I want to continue to speak out on the issues that are important to me,” Reno said. “I want to work on a community that I was born and raised in and that I care a lot about.”
McCombie said he hopes that students benefited from the event.
“I hope students come away from our events with the realization that exposing yourself to a wide variety of viewpoints from all political affiliations is a healthy thing to do,” McCombie said.
For more information on the Council for Democracy, visit www.CouncilForDemocracy.org.
Arnab Basu can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.