The Time to Engage in Civic Life

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I have struggled a bit since the Presidential election about how to add my voice to the raging debate in our country about the implications of  a Trump presidency. I offer these thoughts as my first attempt to find my voice in the cacophony of voices commenting on this epic election.

As the term President – elect Trump begins to sound familiar, many students and colleagues at Duke and elsewhere are wondering how to go about expressing disagreement with and working to oppose  those aspects of Trump’s agenda that threaten to undermine fundamental American values – those such as freedom of the press, the integrity of our elections, independent courts, etc.

I wanted to use this opportunity to share with the ideas expressed by some civically engaged citizens that I respect. I hope that you will find these useful as we double down on our commitment and responsibility to use the resources of our University to foster and promote democratic citizenship:

  • Peter Levine, the Associate Dean for Research at The Tisch College for Civic Life and the Director of Circle offers this flow chart for possible action.
  • Nicholas Kristof, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times offers these possible steps.
  • Here is a web site that offers small steps that citizens can take every day.
  • Duke University is a member of Campus Compact, the national organization for civic engagement in higher education; and they offered this guide
  • The famous journalist Dan Rather has offered these observations and suggested actions.

I hope that you will share other resources you have found useful, My ultimate goals here is to reinvigorate the link between higher education and democratic citizenship, to use the resources of our great University to bolster our democratic order.  That link is more important now than ever.

Eric Mlyn

Peter Lange Executive Director, DukeEngage
Assistant Vice Provost for Civic Engagement