Stetson hosts 41st Model Senate

Stetson University will host the 41st annual Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate on March 15-17, featuring students from nine colleges and public lectures by Florida Sen. President Mike Haridopolos and Washington, D.C., political commentator Craig Crawford.

Founded in 1971 by Stetson Political Science Professor T. Wayne Bailey and then-political science student John Fraser, Stetson’s Model U.S. Senate is the nation’s oldest collegiate level Model Senate.

The experience will allow the 100 students in attendance, from Stetson and eight other colleges and universities, “to take an active role in the American legislative process, rather than learn through the traditional classroom model,” said Stetson Associate Professor of Political Science David Hill. “During the three-day session, students will assume the role of sitting U.S. senators and attend committee meetings and hearings, press for the passage of their assigned bill, caucus in their respective parties, and debate and vote on the Senate floor. Students will not be arguing their own opinions, but those of the senators they are assigned to portray.”

The public is invited to two free lectures: Mike Haridopolos will address the Model Senate at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 15, and Craig Crawford will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16. Both talks will be held in the Stetson Room, second floor of the Carlton Union Building, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand.

Haridopolos entered politics in 2000, when he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. In 2003, he was elected to the State Senate, where he has been reelected subsequently, serving District 26, which consists of parts of Brevard, Indian River, Osceola and St. Lucie counties. He is currently serving as Florida State Senate President (2010–2012).

He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Stetson in 1992. The following year, he received a master’s degree in history from the University of Arkansas, and he now teaches at the University of Florida.

Crawford, also a Stetson alumnus, is a columnist with Congressional Quarterly. He is a regular on national TV and radio shows, including The Early Show on CBS and the Imus In The Morning. He is frequently interviewed for political reports on NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News. He is the author of three books: Attack the Messenger (Rowman and Littlefied); The Politics of Life (Rowman and Littlefield), and Listen Up Mr. President: All of the Things You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do (Scribner). After practicing law in Orlando and working on political campaigns, Crawford was the Orlando Sentinel’s Washington bureau chief from 1989 to 1997. Before joining Congressional Quarterly in 2003, Crawford ran The Hotline, a daily online political briefing, for six years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stetson in 1978 and a law degree from the Stetson College of Law in 1981. During his Stetson days, he participated in Model Senate and worked in the White House press office for President Jimmy Carter while attending Stetson’s Washington Semester program at American University. Crawford received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the university in 2004.

For further information concerning the Model Senate, visit the Model Senate’s HatterSync profile or contact Elizabeth Lukas, student director, at, or call the Political Science office at (386) 822-7570.