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Democracy & Debate 2023-24

A university-wide educational initiative, Democracy & Debate encourages students, faculty, staff, and the Michigan community to explore the exchange of ideas and free speech, the responsibilities of members of a democratic society, structural inequalities in our democratic systems, the power of the voice of the individual voter, and democracy from a local to a global perspective.

Democracy & Debate seeks to establish habits of active and informed democratic engagement as we continue to grapple with the multiple challenges that confront our nation and our world.

Dean Co-Chairs

  • Anne Curzan, Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Supporting Schools/Colleges/Units

Core Team

Team Members

  • Catherine Carver, Lead, Democracy & Debate 2023-24
  • Cindy Bank, Associate Director of Policymaker Engagement, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Nadia Bazzy, Director, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs
  • Erica Colaianne, Interim Director of Social Media and Public Engagement
  • Chrisstina Hamilton, Director, Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series and Witt Visiting Artist Program
  • Meera Herle, President, Central Student Government
  • Rusty Hills, Lecturer, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Nicholas Martens, Vice President for Education, Turn up Turnout
  • Akhila Mullapudi, Government Relations Coordinator, Central Student Government
  • Susan Pile, Senior Director, University Unions & Auxiliary Services
  • Travis Radina, Senior Associate Director, Alumni Advocacy, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan
  • Rose Reilly, President, Turn up Turnout
  • Michael Rein, Director of Community Relations, Office of the Vice President for Government Relations
  • Janice Reuben, University Engagement Manager, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan
  • Marie Ting, Assistant Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion & Academic Affairs
  • Dave Waterhouse, Associate Director, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning
  • Ann Zalucki, Associate Director Film Office/Training & Events Manager, Facilities & Operations
a portrait of Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD
Our democracy requires active citizens to strengthen its foundations and foster inspired and inclusive engagement. As we look to the coming year, one that includes an election cycle, we are reminded of the importance of active participation in our democratic process. This year's programming offers students, faculty, staff, and alumni opportunities to engage with critical issues on the local, state, national, and global level.
- Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD, Dean, Founding Director, Center for Racial Justice, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy