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Dartmouth’s mission is to prepare the most promising students for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. As I noted last month, we want our students to cultivate the ability to have a positive influence on a daily basis, in any relationship, any setting and any community of which they are a part. With election day almost upon us, we are encouraging them, as we know you are, to exercise their right to vote.
We live in an increasingly complex, interconnected, and fast-paced world, and sometimes it feels like the paradigms that may have served us well in the past no longer apply. And all too often, the challenges that we face as a society may seem insurmountable, just as the opportunities that living in such a society offers may feel out of reach.
During their undergraduate years, our students are encouraged to interrogate their own values, beliefs and ideologies. As dictated by the very nature of the liberal arts, we expect them to explore the lived experiences and worldviews of others with different backgrounds and perspectives, and to engage in meaningful dialogue with those with whom they have deep ideological differences. As educators, it our duty to teach them to hold multiple perspectives and disparate opinions simultaneously, to enable them to refine their own views. No matter what their conclusions, voting is one of their most important civic responsibilities and, perhaps more importantly, their most effective leverage for creating lasting social change.
Students on campus of all perspectives have been active in voter registration drives. Some will vote at home, and some locally. This year, all U.S. citizens who are 18 years of age or older on election day and are "domiciled" in the state of New Hampshire -- including students -- are eligible to vote in New Hampshire. The full guidelines for New Hampshire voting eligibility, including the definition of "domiciled," can be found at http://sos.nh.gov/nhsos_content.aspx?id=8589972818. Several House Communities will be hosting breakfasts on election day, and watch parties with faculty as the returns come in. On November 8th, the Rockefeller Center will host a panel of distinguished faculty analysts to review the results.
In a message to the community earlier this term, President Hanlon encouraged students to take full advantage of their access to multiple perspectives here, “and embrace the deep intellectual engagement that has characterized our campus through every election cycle since our founding, in order to make informed decisions at the polls.” We will continue to reinforce his message: that “it is incumbent upon all of us who are eligible to vote to exercise that right and engage in our nation’s democratic process, this and every election season”.
With best wishes,
Kathryn J. Lively
Interim Dean of the College
House Professor for South House
Professor of Sociology