October 11, 2022
Dear Campus Community,
At Gettysburg College, our mission is to prepare students “to engage the complex questions of our time through effective leadership and socially responsible citizenship.” A central pillar of this education, therefore, is providing forums to examine democracy, to debate the best approaches in strengthening it, to explore the unexamined histories, and to model how we as Gettysburgians can engage across difference, thoughtfully and respectfully.
I commend our Eisenhower Institute, among other College efforts, for living these principles through its “Democracy Week” programming in September. Executive Director Tracie Potts, in partnership with a group of dedicated students and colleagues, has offered us a blueprint on how to advance such aspirations in these divisive times. It is a blueprint the College will seek to build from in the coming year.
Given our commitment to socially responsible citizenship, I am also pleased to share that—largely through the efforts of one of our own students—polling for the 2022 Midterm Elections will again return to Gettysburg College. We will welcome eligible voters from campus and Adams County to cast their ballots on November 8 in the College Union Building Ballroom. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to review voting eligibility requirements and to register to vote in Pennsylvania by October 24
Lastly, with the midterm elections approaching, the scope and importance of the Supreme Court’s docket in the coming term, and so many other issues of consequence confronting the nation, we as a community are called upon to reflect on and engage with these issues.
To be clear, Gettysburg College values freedom of expression. It is the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom and foundational to any robust educational environment. Still, it is important to remember that freedom of expression alone does not necessarily lead to clarity and progress. To achieve true progress and understanding, our rhetoric and actions must always be grounded in respect for our shared humanity—or else we risk greater entrenchment, greater division.
In the weeks and months ahead, may we reflect on what this value means in practice and, together, live it as a campus community.