Let's Talk About the Election

On Nov. 3, Americans will vote for the next president of the United States -- in the midst of a historic pandemic, a national reckoning with racial injustice, and heightened levels of partisan division. We know this time will be marked by uncertainty, tension, and difficult conversations. As an institution of higher learning dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and the uplifting power of education, we are committed to addressing these issues openly through civil, respectful dialogue.

Our Reason & Respect initiative provides a forum for students, faculty, staff, and our broader communities to explore and discuss topics related to the election and learn about critical issues. How can you separate fact from fiction online? What can we expect in the days and weeks after Nov. 3? How can you handle difficult conversations respectfully? Check out the programming and resources below to engage with these questions and more. 

We also encourage every member our SUNY Empire community who is able to do so to participate in this nation's democratic process by exercising their right to vote. The ability to freely elect our leaders is a hard-won right that we cannot take for granted. Learn more about your options at the New York State Board of Elections.

Statement from Officer in Charge Beth Berlin

Posted October 23, 2020

Common ground, and common values, are exactly what we need to anchor ourselves in this moment. ... MORE

Listen, Learn, Engage

Learn more about election issues and make your voice heard by getting involved with one of our upcoming programs. 

SPEAKER & DISCUSSION SERIES

SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Beth Berlin, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Meg Benke, and representatives from across the SUNY Empire community kick off the Reason & Respect initiative with a recommitment to our college values and reflections on how we must continue to embody them moving forward.

 

Nov. 2, 2-3 p.m.

According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic is also an “infodemic” that is defined by the spread of false and misleading information. The sharing of deceptive and untruthful information during a global pandemic is especially problematic when accurate and reliable content is essential for saving lives. Misinformation and disinformation are amplified by echo chambers, tribalism, and contentious partisan environments that reinforce mistrust and division. On the eve of this historic election and during one of the most challenging years of our lifetimes, how do we rebuild trust based on reason and respect? How do we engage in difficult conversations about critical issues while reexamining fixed mindsets and understanding multiple perspectives?

SUNY Empire Professor Tom Mackey

Thursday, Nov. 5, 7-9 p.m.

Over the next few weeks, people across the US are taking part in the Presidential voting process. This is all occurring in the midst of a global pandemic, heightened racial issues/injustices, and growing civil discord that makes it feel increasingly difficult to find common ground. The goal of this deliberative conversation is to explore and discuss topics related to the election and learn about critical issues. Questions covered will include: How can you separate fact from fiction online? What can we expect in the days and weeks after Nov. 3? How can you handle difficult conversations respectfully?

Nov. 9, 2-4 p.m.

Ehsan Zaffar, part-time lecturer at SUNY Empire, will discuss issues of civil rights and community engagement raised during the 2020 presidential election, including the campaigns’ outreach to demographically underrepresented communities, failures of polling, and implications of voting trends.

 

Nov. 12, 12-1 p.m.

Avoiding difficult conversations can lead to increased stress, emotional distance, and broken relationships. Come learn strategies to approach these conversations with care and share your experiences with others. Facilitator: Rebecca Bonanno, Associate Professor, SUNY Empire.

Nov. 16, 2-4 p.m.

This panel will focus on how to prepare yourself for potentially difficult conversations with those close to you during the holidays, setting healthy boundaries, staying present in the moment, and managing emotions.

Reason & Respect is guided by the following SUNY Empire commitments:

Critical reflective inquiry that encourages active engagement in the local and global community

Promoting social justice and a sustainable world through responsiveness to human and social circumstances

Ensuring a healthy democracy that recognizes and respects diversity in all its forms

Fostering respectful, creative and vibrant learning environments for students, faculty and staff

Read our full Mission, Vision, and Commitments Statement