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Democracy & Debate 2023-24 Events

The University of Michigan’s Democracy & Debate events provide an opportunity for learning and engagement across multiple platforms. Our collective goal is to share unique engagement opportunities that address the breadth of elements that constitute a democratic society. We encourage you to participate as an active member of our community.

These events seek to consider broadly the intersections between democracy and arenas that shape our collective experiences. They provide opportunities to examine the crucial intersection between democracy and racial and social justice and invitations to explore the impact of the relationship between democracy and our environments, from the arts to policy, from social media to climate change. The suite of events also examine pressures on democracies locally, nationally, and globally. All of the programs invite discussion and reflection on free speech, the exchange of ideas, and the responsibilities of members of a democratic society.

Through these activities, we seek to establish habits of active and informed democratic engagement in the years between presidential elections, as we continue to grapple with the multiple challenges that confront our nation and our world. Our list of events will grow, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Sep 27, 2023 10:00 amRoss School of Business, Robertson Auditorium

The Honorable Shalanda H. Baker is the Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy and Secretarial Advisor on Equity. Prior to her Senate confirmation, she served as the Nation’s first-ever Deputy Director for Energy Justice. Before joining the Biden-Harris Administration, she was a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.

Moderated by Liesl Eichler Clark, Director, Sustainability Climate Action Engagement

Oct 6, 2023 1:00 pmVirtual

Are you passionate about:

  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Voting Rights
  • Equity in Democracy

Democracy is a Verb, are you ready to:

  • Step into the shoes of a senator - no experience required
  • Grapple with the complexities of democracy in action
  • Explore the implications of different state policies on voting rights

The Democracy Restoration Act:

Students from across the Big Ten are invited to participate in this virtual policy simulation on a bill that aims to establish a federal mandate that restores voting rights to all individuals upon their release from incarceration in an attempt to address the disparities in felony disenfranchisement laws across the nation.  – the Democracy Restoration Act of 2023 (S. 1667). 

Making a Difference Together: 

Worried you won’t understand policy talk? Unclear about a policy simulation? Don’t be! This is a learning experience for everyone, and democracy thrives when diverse backgrounds participate. You will have the opportunity to play the role of a senator working to move a bill out of committee. This event is for anyone who’s curious about how policies are created and want to have a say in shaping the future. 

Guided by Experts:

Led by University of Michigan’s Elisabeth Gerber, the Jack L. Walker, Jr. Professor of Public Policy and director of the Program in Practical Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, this event will allow students to come together and engage in the process of creating legislation. 

Gain Recognition:

Students who complete the policy simulation will receive a digital badge that recognizes their participation and skills developed in this learning experience.

Shape Democracy - Join Us:

We encourage U-M students from all areas of study to participate! To take part in this event, please fill out the form below by DATE. Questions? Contact Catherine Carver (

Nov 3, 2023 4:00 pmLydia Mendelssohn Theater

Democracy in Crisis: Views from the Press

A special event featuring CNN anchor and Chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, as part of the continuing series: “Democracy in Crisis: Views from the Press.”

CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper joined the network in January 2013. Tapper currently anchors a two-hour weekday program, The Lead with Jake Tapper, which debuted in March 2013. He has hosted CNN’s Sunday morning show, State of the Union, since June 2015. In April 2021, he became the lead anchor for CNN for Washington, D.C. events.

This is a non-ticketed event and is free and open to the public. Registrations are not required but allow us to send you event updates and reminders. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the series: Democracy in Crisis

In Spring 2022, the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Wallace House Center for Journalists, and Democracy & Debate launched the series “Democracy in Crisis: Views from the Press,” launched a series featuring award-winning journalists to share their insights into the forces threatening and protecting American democratic structures and systems. The series - which will continue into the 2023-24 academic year - also explores the current state of journalism and the role of the press in upholding democratic institutions.

a portrait of Tabbye Chavous
Democracy & Debate has mobilized our communities to think more critically about movement towards a more diverse and inclusive society. The contributions this year from expert diversity scholars will continue to help us all better understand and further examine the history of democracy and leverage this opportunity to engage with students, faculty, and staff to envision a more just campus, community, and society.
- Tabbye Chavous, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer