CSM’s Next ‘Informed, Engaged, Empowered = Ready – Set – VOTE!’ Virtual Voter Education Series Explores Fact Checking and Election Media Coverage

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) continue its 2020 ‘Informed, Engaged, Empowered = Ready – Set – VOTE!’ virtual series with “A Pledge to Truth and Civility” Oct. 8 event that focuses on the need for media literacy and civility in public discourse.

The public is invited to join CSM Professor of Communications Michelle Christian, CSM Instructor of Media Studies and former journalist Cara Fogarty and SMCM Associate Professor of English and Department Chair Brian O’Sullivan as they discuss how to spot fake news, the importance of checking facts and sources of information and a variety of strategies for maintaining civility while engaging in difficult political conversations.

“One of the most difficult challenges we face as educators is helping students navigate the enormous amount of information they encounter each day,” said CSM Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership Director and CSM Communication Professor Denise Gilmer-Knudson. “Between political bias and fake news to social media trolls and manipulation, media literacy is more important today than ever before. We hope our students and the public will join us in this timely discussion on October 8th.” 

“An informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry and absolutely essential to a strong democratic republic,” said CSM’s Executive Director of Equity and Inclusive Diversity Dr. Sybol Anderson. “We are supporting our students’ efforts to think critically and go to the polls properly informed.”

A five-part series entitled ‘Informed, Engaged, Empowered = Ready – Set – VOTE!’ kicked off the inauguration of the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership Sept. 15 on the International Day of Democracy. Senator Miller is shown here with his wife Patti.

“A Pledge to Truth and Civility” is part of a larger five-part series that began Sept. 15 with a live webinar during the launch of the CSM Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership. The webinar included commentary about bi-partisanship from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and an intimate conversation between Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller, a panel of college students and the audience about the senator’s life in politics and his take on the current political climate.

During the inaugural kick off, Miller joined CSM and SMCM student leaders Reanna Robinson, Verkia Smith, Humacao Sanchez Santos and Calvin Ryan to share thoughts on leadership, unity and the future of American democracy in conversations moderated by SMCM Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy Dr. Antonio Ugues and CSM Communication Professor Denise Gilmer-Knudson, who has been awarded the Miller Center’s Distinguished Professor for Leadership.

“Hearing [these messages] from the governor and Senator Miller – we can adopt their skills,” said Robinson. “We need not be single-minded and we need to find a middle ground to move forward together. We need to attack the issues, not each other.”

Sanchez agreed.

“What resonates with me is that we need to apply the principles of good communication and compassion in every aspect of life,” said Sanchez

“These small intimate conversations are the starting point to get the gears going on those larger conversations that start to produce the change in which we the people want to see,” shared Smith. “We need to invite the idea of humility and self-reflection with open arms so that we can use it as a tool in our education process.

 “It is really up to our generation – my generation – to continue this dialogue, this reaching across the aisle,” Ryan said. “We should not shy away from conversations and broader initiatives no matter how difficult they may be.”

Calendar:

A Pledge to Truth and Civility: Oct. 8, 2020, 7-8 p.m. Zoom.

The public is invited to join CSM Professor of Communications Michelle Christian and CSM Instructor of Media Studies and former journalist, Cara Fogarty, and SMCM Associate Professor of English and Department Chair, Brian O’Sullivan as they discuss how to spot fake news, the importance of checking facts and sources of information, and a variety of strategies for maintaining civility while engaging in difficult political conversations. Hosted by CSM’s Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership, Student Life Department and Equity and Inclusive Diversity Office, and SMCM’s Center for the Study of Democracy and Student Activities Department, registration is required for this free Zoom event. Visit:
https://csmd.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrc-2vqTIiEteQVXaUChok-nuG3Zsu0SNE.

Liberty and Justice for All? The History of Voting Rights in America: Oct. 22, 7 -8 p.m. Zoom. Join CSM Professor of History and Humanities and Social Sciences Department Chair Dr. Christine Arnold-Lourie in traveling through history to discover the evolution of American voting rights. Learn how certain populations were denied the right to vote, the hard-fought battles to gain suffrage and discriminatory voting practices that still exist today. RSVPs are required to access Zoom information. Free. https://csmd.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAsce6rpzktHtYABah3xjbVCaSaaE0fXl9L. 

 

About the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership: The purpose of the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership is to serve and connect the College of Southern Maryland and surrounding region by offering leadership training and other opportunities to develop student and community leaders who contribute to their local and global communities. In addition to the lecture series for both students and the general public, the Center for Leadership includes an endowed scholarship fund to benefit CSM students and a Distinguished Miller Professor for Leadership. For more information, visit www.csmd.edu/community/miller-center-for-leadership/.

About the Center for the Study of Democracy: A joint initiative of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and its partner institution, Historic St. Mary’s City, the Center for the Study of Democracy was founded in 2002 to explore contemporary and historical issues associated with the ideas of democracy, liberty and justice in national and international contexts. The Center facilitates activities that strengthen democracy and the rule of law, enhance security and individual freedoms, invigorate civil society, encourage free enterprise, and increase economic, environmental, educational and cultural equity. For more information, visit https://www.smcm.edu/democracy/.

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