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Democracy & Debate Theme Semester Events Series

The University of Michigan’s Democracy & Debate Theme Semester events provide an opportunity for learning and engagement across multiple platforms. The theme semester events seek to explore broadly three areas: free speech and exchange of ideas, what it means to be a member of a democratic society, and democratic engagement from a global perspective. These events and activities provide a forum for exploration and discussion of a range of issues at play during the 2020 election season, from structural racism to public health and inequality, immigration and climate change, voting rights, voting security, free speech, and mass incarceration.

Our collective goal is to provide unique opportunities for learning about the multifaceted social elements that constitute a democractic society and for engaging in that learning as an active member of our community. Through these activities, we seek 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. Our list of events continues to grow, so we encourage you to check back frequently!

Feb 25, 2021 7:00 PMOnline

In 2018 Michigan voters approved a Constitutional amendment to change how redistricting is done in the state, removing the process from the purview of the state legislature and placing it in the hands of a new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC). The amendment also prescribes priorities the ICRC must address when drawing new district maps, placing the concept of “communities of interest” (COIs) near the top of the list.

While COIs have been a part of redistricting in other states, this is a new concept in Michigan, and is not yet widely understood. This webinar will help educate stakeholders about COIs: what they are, the role they will play in Michigan’s new redistricting process, and how they can strategize and engage effectively in that process.

The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), the Program in Practical Policy Engagement, Detroit Public TV, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Voters Not Politicians, the citizen-led grassroots organization that spearheaded the effort to pass the amendment.

a portrait of Angela Dillard
What makes Democracy & Debate distinctive is not only the contributions from across the university, but also the connection to the presidential election season and watch parties for the debates. This gives us the potential to have conversations that span the campus, the state and the globe. We’ve never had a theme semester with this kind of reach.
- Angela Dillard, Professor, U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Chair, Presidential Debate Academic Advisory Committee