The following message was sent to all Ohio State student, faculty and staff on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
Dear Ohio State Community:
As I write this message, the presidential election has yet to be decided, and it could be some time before we have a result.
I know many are feeling anxious, uncertain and distracted as a result of this significant unanswered question. As we wait for all votes to be counted and for the outcome of this pivotal race to be finalized, let’s remind ourselves that, no matter who wins or loses, it is vital to our democracy and our Buckeye community that our post-election dialogue remains respectful and peaceful.
We can disagree strongly, even passionately. We can and should connect with one another, especially if our political views do not always align. Engagement through public discourse fuels progress and facilitates positive change. It is the basis of our university motto, “Education for Citizenship.”
Earlier this week, I wrote about my desire to see our university be a national model in bringing together people of all backgrounds and experiences in honest, open and considerate conversation.
Our Buckeye unity is something we all hold dear. And it is especially important during these challenging times, as we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic and address racial injustice and inequities in our society.
As we learn of the outcome of this election, the university will offer resources in the days ahead and beyond to help keep us connected as Buckeyes in productive discussion and dialogue.
Our “Education for Citizenship Post-Election Dialogue Series,” in partnership with the Divided Community Project at Moritz College of Law, begins tomorrow, November 5, with the virtual discussion “Unpacking the Presidential 2020 Election — How we got here and what lies ahead.” The conversation will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. To participate in this webinar, first log in to Carmen Zoom with your Ohio State name.#, then follow this zoom link.
A second virtual event will be held on Tuesday, November 10, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. “Unpacking the 2020 Presidential Election — Can we talk?” will focus on positive and productive ways to discuss the issues that divide us. It will include breakout sessions for small group conversations. You can register for this event at the Divided Community Project website. Please also see the project’s post-election conversation guides and resources offered through our Education for Citizenship Initiative.
I am reminded of Ohio’s great statesman John Glenn, who told our 2009 spring graduating class: “No person lives solely as an island unto himself, particularly in a democracy such as ours.”
In that spirit, I urge you to seek out conversations with each other. Be spirited and respectful. Live your values. In short, be Buckeyes. I look forward to our continued dialogue together.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD