Political Science

Undergraduate Journal of Political Science

The California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Undergraduate Journal of Political Science is our department's scholarly research journal, providing peer-reviewed articles and essays from subfields throughout the discipline. Areas covered include American politics, public administration, international relations, comparative politics, public law and political theory. The Undergraduate Journal of Political Science is a student-run journal. 

Editor-in-Chief 2019:
Samara Renteria (samarar@cpp.edu)

Editor-in-Chief 2018:
Kristin Khair (khkhair@cpp.edu)

Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Neil Chaturvedi (nschaturvedi@cpp.edu)

Buy a Hard Copy »

Current Issue: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018

Previous Issues:

Editors Samara Renteria and Kristen Khair introduce this volume of the undergraduate journal.

Click here to read

The international illicit wildlife trafficking industry is a rapidly growing operation produced by the most recent wave of globalization. The industry is intimately linked to broader international issues including regional and global insecurity, economic and social disparities, and irreversible environmental damage. Despite an international effort to reign in the industry and to mitigate its impact, the industry continues to grow. This paper accomplishes two objectives. First, it analyzes the variables that motivate individuals, particularly in developing countries, to participate in wildlife trafficking. Next, it critiques the solutions proposed and implemented by both state and non-state actors. The paper concludes that the existing approaches to counter the illicit wildlife trafficking industry are insufficient in isolation, evident by the industry’s continued growth and profitability. Lastly, the paper will outline several solutions to promote a more holistic approach to the complexity of the issue at hand.

Click here to read the paper

When it comes to researching a topic often we choose what we find interesting or important to be studied as to give insight on a potential problem or issue. The goal of this research paper is to determine: Why do wealthier countries that have Anti- Monopoly Legislation, differ in their enforcement? In order to accomplish this, we must understand what exactly we are defining when we say “anti-trust legislation”. Using Merriam-Webster’s definition of anti-trust: "of, relating to, or being legislation against or opposition to trusts or combinations; specifically: consisting of laws to protect trade and commerce from unlawful restrains and monopolies of unfair business practices”. In that we will be looking at what the cohesive binding material for which these countries have in common together. This is done to breakdown concepts that will aid our understanding of why the chosen countries in this study do in fact have anti-trust type legislation. The binding agent that will be employed in this study is the wealth of countries; The United States of America, The Peoples Republic of China, Japan and Germany. Each of these countries has been selected for this study because of their wealth comparison between other countries around the globe. Also, these countries currently have anti-monopoly laws but the reality to the situation is that not all laws are created equal. This notion is exemplified by the nations themselves in having similar laws while still maintaining their countries own culture.

After a wave of ethnic conflicts spread across the world at the end of the Cold War, scholars, fearful that these ethnic conflicts were a serious threat to regional and global peace, began developing numerous theoretical explanations for the causes of such violence in hopes of preventing similar occurrences from happening in the future. Today, these explanations fall under three main theoretical approaches: primordialism, instrumentalism, and constructivism. The literature concerning ethnic violence, however, reveals that there is no clear consensus amongst scholars regarding which of these theories best explains the causes of ethnic conflicts. Therefore, this thesis, which uses a process tracing approach to test the three main theories of ethnic conflicts in the post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova, argues that utilizing an approach which uses ideas from both the instrumentalism and the constructivism theories is the best way of explaining the causes of ethnic conflicts. This is the case because the primordialist theory has the least amount of explanatory power; and the instrumentalism and constructivism theories, separately, are incomplete.

A plethora of social scientists have affirmed the political force of public identities. Public identities are opportunistically used to shape collective perceptions about individuals, groups, and entities. This thesis strives to analyze the public identity of African-Americans among various lenses of social coalitions in America. Different groups, such as: females, blacks, Generation X, Millennials, conservatives, Republicans, and college educated Americans will be examined in relation to how they perceive the black public identity. The methodology of this thesis accounts for the enumerated groups as control variables in linear regression models. Ultimately, this thesis aims to investigate how black and white Americans presently feel about a catalogue of divisive issues. These issues include the following: how much sympathy the American electorate feels towards blacks, if blacks still face a great amount of discrimination, if blacks are lazy, if blacks are violent, and if blacks should receive special government assistance due to the repercussions of slavery. Race continues to be a divisive force in American politics and this thesis aims to shed light on how public identity affects the American consensus of the black race. This thesis aims to contribute to the academia of race relations, regarding how African-Americans are perceived by various entities in America, and what observable differences account for attitudinal changes, as well as lower affective filters, towards blacks.

This research examines the agency states and local governments hold over immigration-related legislation, despite the issue being a federal responsibility. Over time, states have created legislation to address their own needs in response to growing immigrant populations, border security, and immigrant rights. Similarly, Miriam Wells in The Grassroots Configuration of U.S. Immigration Policy recognizes the contradictory nature reforming immigration holds as states experience the burden of increased immigration, but the federal government has the authority to enforce and create immigration policy. Immigration has been a salient and contentious issue in the history of the United States and while Congress has attempted to create comprehensive immigration reform, states have created legislation where the policy failed to represent them. In an effort to answer how states have reacted to federal actions on immigration, this research employs a quantitative approach to determine if states are proposing and enacting laws at a significant level. The study’s findings reveal states with a high population of unauthorized immigrants are creating legislation at a significantly high level and border states are not.

Click here to read the paper

This paper examines the support for civil liberties by college students in the United States, specifically the areas of free speech, privacy, and gun ownership. The paper will examine what factors determine whether or not students support civil liberties. Using both historic and contemporary sources, this paper identifies what civil liberties are and how they are defined. This paper provides an up-to-date look at where civil liberties stand in today’s post-9/11, technological, socially dynamic world. Students, in general, are somewhat supportive of privacy rights, somewhat supportive of free speech, and not supportive of gun ownership. There are no clear demographic or socioeconomic factors that determines whether or not a student is in favor of restrictions on civil liberties. Rather, a college student’s support, or lack thereof, for civil liberties is much better explained by factors such as political ideology, political party affiliation, and patriotism; there is a statistically significant relationship between students who self-identify as patriotic and those who are in favor of warrantless searches. While not indicative of the future, the results show the startling reality that college campuses in the United States are no longer the sanctuaries for civil liberties that they once were throughout the Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and the 1990s.

In April of 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a “Dear Colleague” letter to over 7,000 colleges that receive federal funding across the United States. This policy guidance instructed new legal obligations on the practices colleges must employ to adjudicate cases of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. It has given way to ethical debates on evidence standards, appropriate disciplinary actions in the capacity of the educational system and concerns regarding due process. Further, colleges struggle to comply due to inadequacies in the policy, lack of guidance from the Department of Education and a general lack of funding that would otherwise be used to develop practices to better investigate and adjudicate cases to appoint personnel. These lacking areas have the potential to impact accountability, compliance, due process, privacy, transparency and the investigation. Moreover, this study not only researches these capacities, it seeks to analyze the impact of Dear Colleague Letter of 2011 and the impact of rescinding it. With these concerns in mind, this thesis aims to study The Dear Colleague Letter of 2011 through three campuses, to understand the different practices that are adapted in order to comply with OCR’s policy guidance of 2011. This study analyzes the campuses with the highest, lowest and median reported sexual misconduct cases between the years 2014-2017 as a sounding board for analyzing federal, state and university policies and practices. Ultimately, this study cross examines qualitative and quantitative research and aims to prove if The Dear Colleague Letter of 2011 is efficient and adequate in its guidance.

Click here to read the paper

Title IX is a federal law that protects students from being discriminated against on the basis of sex, in any federally funded educational program. The Department of Education provides guidance to over 7,000 postsecondary institutions on how to implement Title IX policies and procedures. As a result of the broad guidance, provided by the Department of Education, sexual misconduct policies and procedures vary substantially throughout postsecondary institutions across the nation. Current research suggests that many postsecondary institutions are not enforcing their own policies, nor those mandated by the federal government. In contrast, preliminary findings suggest that postsecondary institutions who have dedicated more resources to implement Title IX support services, experience an increase in the number of sexual misconduct complaints filed. Based on these findings, this thesis will evaluate Michigan State University’s best practices in implementing Title IX policies, procedures, and resources to determine whether Michigan State University, The Department of Education, and the Office of Civil Rights implement effective Title IX policies and procedures.

The Supreme Court is the ultimate decision maker in determining what laws we follow in our everyday lives, but is the Court’s opinion affected by the parties who present cases to the Court? This paper examines whether attorneys within the last decade have been able to affect the outcome on cases that are partisanly divided in the Supreme Court. This paper will argue that when a politically polarized issue is heard before the Supreme Court the justices are more likely to be influenced by their own previously held political beliefs as oppose to the argument made by the attorneys before the Court. This study uses quantitative analysis, specifically a content analysis, focusing on oral arguments that have been heard before the Supreme Court. Through this analysis, I was able to find that an attorney does not have an effect, especially in cases that are partisanly divided. Justices in the Supreme Court are basing their decisions off of issues they know to be true or off their own interpretation of the Constitution. Therefore, an attorney’s oral argument is not the primary reason for a justice’s decision making.