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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Elizabeth Warren: David Beat Goliath

Elizabeth Warrens visit to UMB
Elizabeth Warren’s visit to UMB





Just one day after announcing her candidacy for the U.S. senate, Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren received a warm welcome at UMB on Sept. 15. Her 25-minute long speech garnered multiple standing ovations in the jam-packed ballroom, where she stayed after the event to greet and shake hands with a long line of students, faculty and staff.

She was booked as guest speaker for the fall convocation by the McCormack Graduate School six months ago, long before announcing her intentions to run against senator Scott Brown.

Before starting her campaign for the senate, Warren was most known for advocating for the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was signed into law last June as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. She was also the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which oversaw bank bailouts during the financial crisis.

At UMB, Warren started her speech by reminiscing about her family’s background, from her grandmother, who rode out west in a covered wagon in 1889, to her own upbringing in Oklahoma “on the ragged edge of the middle class.”

Warren said that she “grew up in an America that invested in kids like me. Hard working kids who didn’t have much but who believed that anything was possible.”

She repeatedly proclaimed that education is the most obvious investment in the future of America. To a loud round of applause from the audience, Warren said, “Giving tax breaks to the richest corporations in the world while asking college students to drown in debt to finish their education…isn’t right.”

Describing the fight to pass the CFPB through Congress, Warren said people warned that she would be up against “the largest lobbying force ever assembled on the face of the Earth.”

“David beat Goliath,” she announced, crediting senator Barney Frank among many others who helped along the process. “We won. We got a strong Consumer Protection Bureau.”

Warren argued that the financial crisis of 2008 could have been avoided if a body like the CFPB existed ten years ago, and that the fine print, tricks and traps in credit card and mortgage agreements gave rise to the crisis, “one lousy mortgage at a time…family by family by family all across America.”

After concluding her speech by urging students to use their time at UMB to “shape the world you live in,” Warren was joined on stage by Chancellor J. Keith Motley.

“I hope you felt the vibe and the love and the support,” Motley said after handing Warren a present from the university.

Paulo Murta and Carolina Gonzalez attended Warren’s speech at the encouragement of their professor, Reyes Coll, who cancelled her Spanish class to allow students to go.

Both students said that Warren inspired them. Gonzalez, an active member of Casa Latina, said she would like to know more about her position regarding the Dream Act, a proposed legislation that would allow some illegal immigrants who attend college to get permanent residency.

“This turned out to be so much more than I expected,” said Murta. When asked if he would vote for Warren, he answered, “Absolutely.”