UB community reacts to State of the Union address

On January 30, 2014

"I was very annoyed by it and disappointed because I feel like he just made a lot of agreeable statements that didn't really give you any information about what's really happening in America right now... Raising the minimum wage is a crazy idea because it only hurts the economy and hurts jobs and small businesses ... I would like for him to stop making all of these statements about how he's going to do things with or without Congress ... That to me is not very presidential at all. It doesn't show the qualities of a leader."

- Alana Barricks, senior political science student and president of the College Republicans

"I'm not disappointed ... He's trying to get the word out [about the Family Medical Leave Act]. He's bringing men in this. Everyone is entitled to family leave. According to The New York Times, the United States is the only industrial nation not offering paid medical leave. Seeing the list of underdeveloped countries - the list is an embarrassment. Everything deserves its time, and family leave deserves its fair share."

- Claire Modica, grad student Ph.D. neuroscience candidate and president of Society of Feminists

"He did a good job in boosting solar technology. Reducing oil, we've done a bit, but not to the extent that I would like. He did not touch on developing countries like India and China, who are going down the same path as us ... It's our job to steer developing countries down the right path."

- Zachary Schaab, senior environmental studies major and president of Environmental Network club

"I really liked how he said he would do executive action. He shows me he would go over the head of Congress who has been historically unproductive. I like the Pre-K push. Studies show that people exposed to that environment have higher intelligence, earn more and have a better life."

- Michael Calliste, junior political science major and member of College Democrats

"I think that he claimed credit for some successes in America that had nothing to do with his policies or were achieved despite his policies ... I think his 42 percent approval numbers are also evidence that his policies have fallen flat ... He is a lame duck president with weak ratings and problematic policies that may well cost his party control of the Senate after this year's midterm elections."

- James Campbell, chair of political science department with expertise in presidential politics

"Higher income inequality removes the ladder that makes it possible for people to get out of poverty and 'get ahead,' gives the rich a disproportionate say in politics and possibly puts the entire economy at risk, as it is an alleged culprit in the 2007 financial crisis. The president's ideas for addressing income inequality - for example, requiring a higher minimum wage for employees of federal contractors - will help the problem slightly, and one could laud him for his 'with or without you' attitude toward Congress. But without support from the legislative branch of government, his options are very limited."

- Matthew Dimick, associate professor of law with expertise in income inequality

"President Obama is correct that the United States has higher high school and college graduation rates (almost 75% and 50% respectively) than before, but those of European and Asian countries have long passed us ... We must invest in improving the quality of our students' education." 

- Ming Ming Chiu, professor in learning and instruction with expertise in statistical analysis in education

"I believe that the president reaffirmed his beliefs about and commitment to providing high quality educational opportunities to all students. He also once again emphasized his commitment to expanding pre-school opportunities, something Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor de Blasio also support. But it remains to be seen if he can gain sufficient support, particularly in the House, to move this initiative forward."

- Thomas Ramming, clinical associate professor of educational leadership and policy with expertise in educational policy

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