US Congress comes to campus

London Met welcomed two former US Congressmen to offer a rare and unique insight into American Politics as part of the Congress to Campus programme.

Date: 9 March 2018

Two former US Congressmen visited London Metropolitan University earlier this week to provide an insider’s view on the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Jim McDermott (Democrat, Washington) and Tim Murphy (Republican, Pennsylvania) took centre stage in the Great Hall to offer their expertise and insight to London Met’s students and staff.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain a first-hand view of American politics. Both Jim McDermott and Tim Murphy have a wealth of experience which they generously shared during a fascinating discussion, which our students really appreciated.” said Dr Andrew Moran, Associate Professor of International Relations at London Met.

“Jim McDermott and Tim Murphy were extremely accommodating and didn’t hold back, for which I’m sure our students were very grateful.”

Students were invited to attend the discussion and had the rare opportunity to meet the Congressmen afterwards and take photos. The panel was chaired by Dr Moran, with Peter McCaffery, Emeritus Professor of Politics at London Met, making the opening remarks.

Organised by the Eccles Centre for American Studies, Congress to Campus brings former US Congressmen to campuses around the UK. The theme changes each year and this year’s theme was ‘Discussing Donald Trump’s first year of Presidency.’

Jim McDermott, who was a member of the Democratic Party from 1989 – 2017, said: “Trump has torn up all the rules. He is saying that this is a country for white people and that has touched a nerve.”

Both former Congressmen are advocates for addressing mental health issues. One student asked if the number of school shootings in America can be attributed to mental health. To which Tim Murphy replied: “You can’t shoot that many people without having a mental illness. I do not believe that someone with mental health issues should have a gun. I’m very concerned about the lack of control with guns and who has them.”

His thoughts were echoed by McDermott who said: “These guns should not be in the hands of anyone other than the army.”

“We have had a society that is male dominated and operated on an ancient concept that women belong to men.”

Founded in 1991, The Eccles Centre for American Studies works to increase awareness and use of the British Library's extensive collections of books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers and sound recordings related to the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

Since 2003 the Eccles Centre and the US Association of Former Members of Congress have collaborated on Congress to Campus UK, a programme that brings to UK audiences men and women who have served on Capitol Hill.