Democracy is one of the Round Square IDEALS and provides the core of our country’s structure. Political scientist Larry Diamond identifies four key elements of democracy: governments are chosen and replaced through free and fair elections; citizens are active participants in politics; the human rights of all citizens are protected, and the rule of law applies equally to all citizens. Other key elements are a free and independent media, a military controlled by civilians (not the other way around), and a culture of inclusion, compromise, and cooperation.
For students at the College, I would like to highlight two of those elements to focus on: being an active participant in political processes, and building a culture of inclusion, compromise, and cooperation. We live in an amazingly stable, secure, and prosperous community, but this didn’t happen by accident. Many good people did lots of good work to create the society we have today, and while it is not perfect, being engaged and involved in our political processes is one of the best ways to keep things moving in a positive direction. Similarly, living the values of inclusion, compromise, and cooperation are vital to a healthy democracy, as prejudice, stubbornness and an unwillingness to compromise can drive a democracy into deadlock and chaos. It is important to remember that we all have responsibility for developing the health and strength of our democracy, and we do this by being engaged, informed, inclusive and cooperative.
Dean of Students