Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Meyer: We need strong institutions such as universities to counteract autocracy

Meyer: We need strong institutions such as universities to counteract autocracy

  • 1
{{featured_button_text}}

Colleges protect democracy To the editor:

Dr. Ronald Daniels, president of John Hopkins University, uses his recent book, “What Universities Owe Democracy,” to issue a clarion call to campuses around the country to teach undergraduate students the tenets of citizenship in a democracy as well as the skills necessary to function successfully in pluralistic, diverse society such as ours. Daniels warns that “at a moment when democracy is endangered and more countries are heading toward autocracy than at any time in generations” independent universities have an “indispensable role” to play in a modern democracy such as ours.

Daniels identifies four key ways that universities can continue to and enhance support of democracy:

1. Provide opportunities for social mobility through interaction with faculty, other students and leaders with expertise in such areas as government, industry, science, medicine, art and literature.

2. Offer courses in civic education to teach the tenets and practices of democratic citizenship.

3. Identify “facts and knowledge that shape public policy and help restore faith in science and expertise.”

4. Invite leaders to campus from all walks of life who can provide models for students in how to ask hard questions, be open to dissent and to new ideas.

Daniels reminds his readers that authoritarian regimes such as the Taliban cannot “abide” independent universities where critical thinking, tolerance for experience and ideas of others and open debate are encouraged. Autocracy is fueled instead by fear of reprisals for dissent and blind obedience to authority, Recent efforts to overthrow the legitimate results of the 2020 Presidential election revealed an autocratic preference among some of our citizenry. Now, more than ever, we need strong institutions such as independent universities to protect our democracy and keep it strong for the future.

CAROL MEYER

Ridgeway

Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

It has become common in some circles to call the Jan. 6 Capitol riot an “armed insurrection.” That leads to a few questions: How many rioters were armed? And what weapons did they have? What were the arms in the “armed insurrection”?

Stafford County supervisors should have learned a lesson from their very expensive, and very embarrassing, attempt to block a Muslim group from putting a cemetery on land it bought for that purpose and backed down a long time ago.

Throughout the whole month of October every year, people who love differently are recognized, because on Oct. 11, people are free to come out …

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert