True Citizenship

Dear Orange Friends:

Recently, I met with several editors from the Daily Orange to discuss a number of important issues facing our campus. Their last question asked for my thoughts on what was accurately described as one “wild” presidential election.

This campaign has offered far more than its share of ugliness. The interview gave me an opportunity to say what has been on my mind for weeks. This is what I told the editors, almost—if not quite—verbatim. I offer the message with gratitude toward the entire University community:

I don’t think the students, faculty, or staff of the University need or want the Chancellor to tell them how to vote. I do think they have been extraordinarily attentive and thoughtful about this election. As far as I’ve been able to see, they’ve displayed the kind of citizenship and engagement that I wish we saw from more of the country.

I recently attended a class called “Presidential Election and the New Media,” in the Renée Crown University Honors Program, taught by Professor Margaret Susan Thompson. In that class, our students were joined by 10 senior citizens from the community. Everyone in the room modeled a great depth of understanding of the issues, and how elections are changing. They were able to dissect what people were saying and not saying—the questions that were or were not being answered—in a way that was breathtaking.

They carried themselves as true citizens.

It reminded me of how I proud I am of this entire University in this election—and how I daydream, once Election Day is over, that much of the nation might take a lesson in civic decorum from our students, faculty, and staff.

Kent Syverud
Chancellor Kent Syverud