My name is Andrew Demko and I’m delighted to be serving as the director of the Antebellum Senate committee. I’m a junior studying neuroscience from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In my spare time I research at a neuroscience lab, play more Rocket League than I should, and study the legacy of Kenesaw Mountain Landis and whether he deserves to be in the baseball Hall of Fame. This is my third year with MUNUM and my first as a director.
There can be no denying that the principal political issue of the era was slavery. This committee will not hide from the issue, as to ignore slavery here sets a precedent for ignoring other issues which we find distasteful. Historically, slavery was often ignored as well, but by 1849 the Senate was compelled to make decisions regarding the status of slavery in California and the rest of the Mexican Cession. The goal of this committee is to gain understanding about inequality in all its forms through the power of changed perspective unique to Model UN.
In order for this committee to succeed, a level of decorum greater than that historically shown by the Senate will be required. Even in the context of Model UN, racial issues are sensitive and require maturity in discussion. Though we ask you to vote and support for issues in a way aligning with your character’s historical profile, racially charged remarks aimed at other delegates will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Our dais will work to ensure a welcoming place for all delegates by dealing with problematic behavior as soon as it comes to our attention, in order to do this we require the help of the entire committee.
This committee should be very exciting. We’ll likely veer from complete accuracy as you all reconsider the historical decisions comprising the Compromise of 1850. From that point on, the committee will constantly be changing, as new Senate and Presidential elections ensure a stream of fresh characters into the room. There will be moments of both acute crisis response and protracted debate, as well as discussions of statehood, federalism, and economic development in addition to slavery. This committee may provide important context when talking about hyperpolarization or inequality in today’s politics. Most importantly, it should be extremely fun and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there!