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Universities Play a Pivotal Role in Protecting and Advancing American Democracy

President Koppell joins College Presidents for Civic Preparedness to ensure all students are well-equipped to be engaged citizens and encourages them to exercise their right to vote on Election Day.

Posted in: Homepage News, President

Small booklets of The Constitution of the United States of America and buttons encouraging people to vote.

By Jonathan Koppell, President of Montclair State University 

Universities are anchors of American democracy. They serve a unique role: bringing together people of all backgrounds, faiths, cultures, and political affiliations – sometimes for the first time – to engage in constructive discourse while respecting, challenging, and collaborating with one another. College campuses are unique in that sense, a training ground for democracy different from any other institution in our society. 

So it’s critical for us, as university leaders, to lead the way in restoring and maintaining the very roots of democracy on and off campus.

That’s why I’m excited to join the College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, a new initiative convened by The Institute for Citizens & Scholars to facilitate shared learning and greater impact through partnership toward the goal of developing college students who are ready to be empowered citizens. The group unites 20 college presidents, listed below, representing a wide variety of institutions: public and private, large and small, and across the political spectrum. I’m energized about the impact we’ll be able to make together, with projects focused on ensuring students are well-informed, productively engaged and committed to democracy.

The work starts now, right here at Montclair State University. Montclair traditionally has a strong voting rate, but I greatly encourage students to vote in all elections, including tomorrow, November 7. Don’t discount the impact of state and local elections – what happens locally has the power to deeply impact your daily lives, perhaps even more so than federal elections. Join other Montclair students who have pledged to go “All In to Vote” on Tuesday at this link

Exercising your right to vote now will lay the groundwork for a pivotal year ahead. Next year, we’ll be voting in a consequential presidential election, determining the balance of power in Congress, and electing a New Jersey senator. I look forward to working closely with College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, as well as our Office of Civic and Voter Engagement, to ensure all of our students have the tools and resources they need to be informed, educated and prepared. The future of our democracy depends on it.

Learn more about College Presidents for Civic Preparedness by clicking this link, and see below the list of other participating college presidents.

  • Benedict College:  Roslyn Clark Artis
  • Claremont McKenna College:  Hiram Chodosh
  • Colorado College:  Song Richardson
  • Cornell University:  Martha Pollack
  • Dartmouth: Sian Leah Beilock
  • Denison University:  Adam Weinberg
  • DePauw University:  Lori White
  • Duke University:  Vincent Price
  • Georgetown University:  Jack DeGioia
  • Howard University:  Ben Vinson
  • James Madison University:  Jonathan Alger
  • Purdue University:  Mung Chiang
  • Rollins College:  Grant Cornwell
  • Rutgers University:  Jonathan Holloway
  • University of Notre Dame:  Father John Jenkins
  • University of Pittsburgh:  Joan Gabel
  • University of Richmond:  Kevin Hallock
  • Wellesley College:  Paula Johnson
  • Wesleyan University:  Michael Roth