February 11, 2021 | Office of the President

"After the Insurrection" (February 11, 2021)

To the Bowdoin campus,

On the evening of January 6, in the aftermath of the insurrection at the US Capitol, I wrote to you to say, in part, that:

… today’s events are a stark reminder that we take our freedoms and our democracy for granted at our peril. They require our attention and engagement…

With this in mind—and with the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic limits the ability of others to create various programs—I have organized a semester-long series of virtual discussions with leading experts on subjects that relate to the current state of and future prospects for American democracy. Titled “After the Insurrection: Conversations on Democracy,” the series begins next Thursday (February 18) and will include the following speakers and topics:

Tim Snyder (The State of Our Democracy)—Thursday, February 18 (4:00 p.m. ET)
Suzanne Nossel (Speech, the Internet, and Democracy)—Monday, March 1 (7:00 p.m. ET)
Myrna Pérez (Democracy, Voting Rights, and Elections)—Thursday, March 11 (7:00 p.m. ET)
Kathleen Belew (The White Power Movement)—Wednesday, March 24 (7:00 p.m. ET)
US Senator Susan Collins (Democracy and Our Political System)—Tuesday, April 13 (7:00 p.m. ET)
Mellody Hobson (The Role of Business in Democracy)—Wednesday, April 21 (7:00 p.m. ET)

We may add one more session before the end of the semester.

These conversations, to be held virtually, will be open to our campus community as well to alumni, parents and family members, and members of the Brunswick community. Each will be moderated by a member of the Bowdoin community, with a few minutes of opening comments from our guest and then responses to questions from the moderator and audience. For more information, including biographies of our speakers, please visit this page on the Bowdoin website.

I know that many of our faculty are incorporating aspects of the state of our democracy into their classes this semester. I am also hopeful that there will be formal programming and informal discussion on these topics throughout the semester and beyond, created by individuals and groups from across our campus. If any faculty, staff, or students require funding to advance their ideas for programming on the state of and prospects for our democracy, please let me know. 

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to make time in your schedule to participate. There is no more important moment for us to come together to focus on the current condition of our democracy and its future.

All the best,