Letter From the President
Whether you are a political insider or an interested onlooker, the 2016 presidential election has undoubtedly captured your attention at some point over the past six months, and even the most disinterested voters will likely tune in as the campaigns sprint toward the climax in November.
Regardless of your view of the current state of U.S. politics, presidential races offer important teachable moments for society at large, and institutions of higher education in particular, as we reflect on the candidates, the issues, and the electoral system in the context of our identity as a nation.
Hillary Clinton, a former Ellen Browning Scripps Medal recipient, is the first female presidential nominee for a major political party. Her candidacy was made possible by centuries of tireless advocacy for women’s rights, and it represents a historic moment in the fight for equality of opportunity for women. Debates on issues ranging from the environment to immigration to economic disparity also signify an important moment, as voters and elected officials alike reexamine the founding principles of the Constitution to ensure its guarantees of freedom. For these reasons and more, this election serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of the political process in shaping the future of our society.
At Scripps, political, social, cultural, and intellectual engagement is a way of life. The Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities’ focus on Histories of the Present teaches students how to critically examine timely issues at the forefront of the current political conversation. The current Core I theme, “community,” is especially fitting as we explore the ways in which politics and society are interrelated. The political process tackles questions such as, how do we define community, whom does community include or exclude, and what does a community stand for? Scripps students hone their skills as involved citizens by serving as Laspa Center for Leadership fellows, Scripps Associated Students leaders, CLORG members, and campus activists, among other roles. This issue of Scripps shows that the civic engagement initiated as a student is often the precursor to a life of effecting change.
My hope for the students who will vote for the first time this year is that their Scripps experience will continue to translate into an understanding of the importance of political participation, now and throughout their lifetimes. Whether they become candidates, campaign managers, volunteers, or advocates, I couldn’t imagine a group better qualified to define our political future.