UMass President and Chancellors sign on to national non-partisan student voter commitment

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge’s goal is 100 percent student voter registration and participation in all elections

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and the chancellors of the university’s Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Medical School campuses have signed on to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Presidents’ Commitment.

In a joint statement, President Meehan, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Mark Fuller, UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, and UMass Chan Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins, said:

“As July 4th approaches and we prepare to celebrate freedom and the birth of our nation, let us remember that one of our greatest responsibilities as citizens is participating in the operations of democracy and exercising the right to vote. Voting is a priceless right and a solemn duty. We encourage all of our 70,000 students to register to vote; to become well-informed on the issues facing their nation, state and community; to stay up-to-date on the election rules; and when the time comes, to cast their ballot.”

President Meehan is a member of ALL IN’s Higher Education Presidents Council Leadership, chaired by James Madison University President Jonathan Alger.

More than 400 colleges and universities around the country have now signed on to the commitment. Leaders who make the Presidents’ Commitment pledge to:

  • Strive toward full student voter participation by designating staff to lead this effort among the campus community;
  • Acknowledge the importance of student voice in all elections, preparing students to be informed and active citizens, and creating experiences to help students become lifelong voters;
  • Empower faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders to come together and determine solutions to the problems communities face;
  • Educate voters to make informed decisions about issues and candidates in presidential, national, state and local elections; and
  • Actively participate in a democratic engagement action plan to bolster an institutional culture that supports curricular and co-curricular involvement in the electoral process.

College students, in particular, have voted at one of the lowest rates of any group in the United States. While college student voter participation increased from the 2014 midterm elections to the 2018 midterm elections, less than half of college students made their voices heard by casting their ballots.

According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, college voter turnout in presidential election years increased from 53 percent to 66 percent from 2016 to 2020, approaching the overall national average of 67 percent. College voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections more than doubled from 2014, reaching 40 percent, which was 13 points lower than the overall national average.

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is a national non-partisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge strives to change civic culture and institutionalize democratic engagement activities and programs on college campuses, making voter participation a defining feature of campus life.

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