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Stony Brook Great Debate

Monday, November 7, 2016

4:00 pm,  1006 Humanities Building

Reception to Follow


Be it resolved: " The present system for choosing Presidential party nominees is broken: bring back the political party bosses to choose future candidates

The Participants:

Michael Dawidziak, Newsday columnist and political consultant

Harry Withers, former Chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Party


Vivian-Viloria Fisher, former Suffolk County legislator and

Kayla Lupoli-Nolan, Journalism major, Stony Brook University


Moderator:  James Klurfeld, Stony Brook University School of Journalism​

​Parliamentary Whip:  Malcolm Bowman, Stony Brook University School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences

party bosses smoke-filled room Everett Collection/Dreamst ime



The Government Team
Harold Withers has served in various roles in political party activities including Suffolk County Republican Party Chair and Babylon Town Republican Party Chair. He served in office as Suffolk County Deputy Director of Planning, Suffolk County Commissioner of Board of Elections, and Suffolk County Commissioner of Consumer Affairs as well as Councilman in the Town of Babylon. Currently he teaches as Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University, covering public policy and Federalism.
Michael Dawidziak is the founder and president of Strategic Planning Systems, Inc. He is a nationally known pollster, general consultant and political strategist and has worked on races for all levels of government in every state in the country, including four presidential campaigns. Recognized pioneer and innovator of what we call “micro-targeting” today, he has appeared regularly in the pages of Newsday as an opinion writer, The New York Times and many other national newspapers and publications. He has also appeared on FOX News and CNN, and is a frequent political analyst for News 12. 
The Opposition Team
Vivian Viloria-Fisher taught at the Middle Country School District on Long Island while pursuing a Master’s degree at Stony Brook University. Later she earned certifications in Spanish and School District Administration, teaching Spanish in the Three Village School District, plus serving as Chair of the Department of Global Languages. Viloria-Fisher embarked on a second career as Suffolk County Legislator and served in office for thirteen years, six of which as Deputy Presiding Officer of the Legislature.
Kayla Lupoli-Nolan has studied liberal arts at both Suffolk County Community College and Hofstra University and is now journalism major at Stony Brook University. After graduation, she plans to travel throughout Europe and report on events and people in countries and communities that are often unfamiliar to Americans. Lupoli-Nolan greatly admires renowned reporter/social commentator Anthony Bourdain, who through his CNN show “Parts Unknown” travels across the globe to uncover little-known destinations and diverse cultures, using culinary specialties as his medium of engaging locals.



James M. Klurfeld  is a visiting professor of Journalism at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. After nearly 40 years, he retired in 2007 as vice-president and editor of the editorial pages of Newsday. He started there as a local reporter, went on to head the paper’s Albany and Washington bureaus, and was eventually given the responsibility for the Editorial and Viewpoints pages. Among his many awards, Klurfeld was a member of the Newsday investigative team that won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a three-year effort that disclosed official and political party corruption in three townships on Long Island. He was also the recipient of the 1988 American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for editorials on the Iran-Contra hearings.

Malcolm Bowman is Professor of Physical Oceanography and a Distinguished Service Professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University. He joined Marine Science Research Center (MSRC) in 1971 and served a term as Acting Dean and Director during 1987-88. In 1996, he took a three-year leave from SBU to accept an invitation to return to his native New Zealand as Founding Head of the School of Environmental and Marine Sciences at Auckland University. Malcolm’s current work includes coordinating the Stony Brook Storm Surge Group, whose current research interests are prediction and modeling of storm surges that threaten the New York metro area.



Participants and event date subject to change without notice.