November 13, 2018

This Fall’s Midterm Elections: DPE, CISAT Receive Extensive Media Coverage

DPE Professor Jean Schroedel discusses helping voters this election season.
TRANSDISCIPLINARY POWER: "I can't think of another time where I felt that the research ... mattered quite as much," said DPE's Jean Schroedel in an interview on CGU's YouTube channel.

For their involvement in the situation facing many Native American voters this election season, especially on North Dakota reservations, members of our DPE and CISAT faculties were the subjects of extensive media coverage by a multitude of media outlets.

CGU was featured or referenced in at least a dozen articles and interviews published or broadcast by major outlets between mid-October and election day on November 6. A voter ID law requiring North Dakota voters to present identification with street addresses—on Native American reservations, street addresses aren’t common; most use P.O. Boxes—would have disqualified many from casting their votes in the 2018 election.

CGU’s earliest media attention was because of DPE professors Jean Schroedel and Melissa Rogers, who published a commentary piece about this situation, “What Keeps Native Americans from voting—and what could change this,” in the Washington Post two weeks before the elections. Read their commentary piece.

Schroedel also worked with colleague Brian Hilton, a member of the CISAT faculty and a specialist in digital geographic mapping, to quickly put together a mapping of tribal lands that assigned street addresses to residents of the Turtle Mountain, Standing Rock, and Spirit Lake reservations.


CISAT Professor Brian Hilton
CISAT’s Brian Hilton, a specialist in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

They described the process of mapping reservations in a CGU video that was quickly produced before the elections. Watch the video.

Schroedel and Hilton’s collaboration to assist these voters provides a vivid illustration of the university’s centerpiece philosophy of transdisciplinarity–that complex problems require scholars to transcend boundaries and categories in order to come up with the best solutions to real-world challenges.


Image of GIS mapping of Sioux reservations in North Dakota
MAPPING CHALLENGE: An image taken from Hilton’s efforts to assist North Dakota Native American voters with street addresses in order to be eligible to vote there.

“I can’t think of another time where I felt that the research that any of us did mattered quite as much,” Schroedel said in the CGU video.

Their efforts enabled many Native American voters to participate in this season’s midterms. Media coverage also spotlighted OJ and Barb Semans, who received honorary doctorates from CGU in 2017.

A selection of other media coverage featuring CGU faculty involvement includes:

Learn more about the university’s Geographic Information Systems program.

Read more about Schroedel’s related work on Native American voter suppression.