The Chair’s Message

charles c turner

Political Science Chair
Charles C. Turner

Ten Years Later, as our nation reflects on the decade that has passed since the terrorist attack that we now simply call 9/11, I’m reminded of my own experiences that morning and in the time that followed. There is a very special relationship between this tragedy and an academic department whose job is to study and educate others about the world of politics.

For me, 9/11 began at the first floor elevator in Butte Hall, a little before 8 a.m. I was stepping into the elevator and Professor (now Emeritus) Stafford Thomas was stepping out. “There’s been an attack on the World Trade Center. It’s terrible. It was al-Qaeda. Go turn on a television.” I tried to comprehend what he was telling me. As Professor Thomas was our department’s expert in strategic intelligence, I was certainly prepared to believe him. But I had never heard of this “Al Kyda” fellow and couldn’t understand the magnitude of what I had just learned. 

My early morning State Govern- ment class was a jumble of partial information and confusion. As a group, we shared what we’d learned on the Internet and television news reports. With memories of the Atlanta Olympics and Oklahoma City, we cautioned each other about jumping to conclusions. We didn’t know who had done this or why or what might happen next. We were afraid. 

The day moved on and the towers fell and classes were cancelled. Nearly all government buildings — the CSU included — were shut down in fear of another attack. We went back to our houses and turned on our televisions and sat numbly before them. Students lost loved ones. Faculty members tried to put the events in perspective—sometimes meeting with a harsh reception. Vigils were held. 

As the months and years passed, the Political Science Department continued to reflect on 9/11 and the difficult choices our country faced as a result. Faculty members engaged in debates, student clubs held forums, and nearly every classroom reflected on the connection between a terrorist attack and the world of politics. We examined the history of American foreign policy and the role of the United Nations. We studied presiden- tial war powers and military spending. We studied the constitutionality of detaining enemy combatants.

What are your memories of September 11, 2001? Are they related to your experiences with the Political Science Department here at Chico State?

Drop us an e-mail at; we’d love to hear from you.

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Political Science Department at California State University, Chico.

With around 1,000 total majors, Political Science is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: general political science, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

Contact Us
Political Science Department
400 W. 1st Street
Chico, CA 95929-0455
Butte Hall, Room 741
P: 530-898-5301
F: 530-898-6910