Published: Sept. 14, 2022

Chancellor Philip DiStefano delivered his annual State of the Campus address on Tuesday, Sept. 13, highlighting the role that universities can play in supporting democracy

According to recent surveys, 58% of U.S. adults say they’re not satisfied with the way democracy is working in America. And only half of American adults polled said they think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country.

College and universities must change this course, starting at CU Boulder, DiStefano said.

DiStefano urged students, faculty and staff to dedicate themselves to upholding democracy in three key ways:

  • Support free speech and thoughtful discourse.
  • Conduct research that informs policy and serves the public good.
  • Enable and encourage participation in the democratic process.

He also stressed the importance of ensuring every person has the opportunity to participate while bringing their unique identities to bear.

“We must embrace diversity of all kinds, critique existing ‘ways of doing things’ and commit to change to ensure that the promises of democracy are not reserved for only a few,” he said.

In the coming year, DiStefano said he would seek opportunities for the university to demonstrate its commitment to democracy. Members of the campus community are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas for how CU Boulder can embrace this mission.