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MICUA Matters Newsletter

MICUA Members Value and Promote Civic Engagement for Students

It is time to vote! Early voting starts October 25. On November 6, Marylanders will elect a U.S. Senator, eight Congressional Representatives, 192 state officials, and numerous local office holders. In addition, the electorate will determine the outcome of two State constitutional amendments and several local ballot questions. For information about voter registration, early voting, and specific ballots, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website at www.elections.maryland.gov.

MICUA MATTERS Fall 2018

 

It is time to vote! Early voting starts October 25. On November 6, Marylanders will elect a U.S. Senator, eight Congressional Representatives, 192 state officials, and numerous local office holders. In addition, the electorate will determine the outcome of two State constitutional amendments and several local ballot questions. For information about voter registration, early voting, and specific ballots, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website at www.elections.maryland.gov.

Voting is a right and a responsibility. Our democracy depends on your vote! During the election season and beyond, Maryland’s independent colleges and universities remind students about their civic duty and their ability to effect change by engaging in the political process as active and informed citizens.

Loyola University Maryland created the LoyolaVotes! leadership team to guide the work of the institution’s action plan to encourage voter engagement. The three goals of the leadership team are to establish an infrastructure to provide students access to voting information and registration, build awareness, and cultivate participation.

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) was awarded a grant by the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition to develop an action planning simulation called "Votes and Ballots." This action planning simulation is now a national model used by colleges and universities to build democratic engagement action plans. MICA's new Center for Creative Citizenship worked across campus to celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25. It was a true cross-campus collaboration that resulted in the registration of 100 people to vote and the provision of absentee voter information to countless numbers of students. Goucher College has a dedicated page on its website with links to information on the processes of registering to vote and has created an action plan to increase the number of students who vote. The action plan, which was implemented in January and will run through the fall 2018 semester, states that “raising an awareness and understanding of these issues is not just a civic responsibility, but an educational opportunity that has the likely benefit of increasing voting rates among our students.”

Several MICUA member institutions have joined forces to encourage women to engage in politics and run for public office. Dr. Mileah Kromer, Director of the Sarah T. Hughes Politics Center at Goucher College, and Dr. Melissa Deckman and Dr. Christine Wade of Washington College, launched Training Ms. President in 2015. Since that time, the programhas been extended to Hood College and Mount St. Mary's University. Each year since its inception, Training Ms. President hosts a forum on women in politics, policy issues, campaign work, and the importance of politically engaged women. Several Maryland elected officials have participated in these discussions.

For the past two years, Notre Dame of Maryland University hosted the Women of the World Festival. The WOW Festival celebrates and supports women as leaders in their communities and encourages women and girls to become a local and global force for positive change. The festival features artists, vendors, and discussions led by empowering speakers and provides a safe space for women to share their challenges and successes, network, and support each other.

Earlier this year, MICUA reached out to the two leading candidates in Maryland’s gubernatorial election and offered them an opportunity to share their perspectives on higher education policy. The Republican candidate, Governor Larry Hogan, did not respond to MICUA’s request in time for inclusion in this edition of MICUA Matters. However, Governor Hogan penned a column in the Summer 2015 MICUA Matters newsletter stating his education policy agenda. Governor Hogan’s full comments are available online at http://micua.org/hogan-column.

This is an excerpt from Governor Hogan's column in the Summer 2015 newsletter:

Everyone should be able to pursue a world-class education that is right for them. Since the vast majority of Marylanders have no degree greater than a high school diploma, this means supporting traditional higher education as well as more creative approaches…. Education is my administration’s top priority, and we will do whatever it takes to attract jobs, build our economy, and enable all Marylanders to achieve their educational potential.

The Democratic candidate, Ben Jealous, submitted the following statement:

Marylanders have a choice this November between two distinct visions for the future of our state. We can continue to chip away at persistent and deep challenges—like doubling healthcare premiums, underfunded schools, and growing student debt—with half solutions that never really move us forward; or we can put into action a bold agenda that truly invests in the education, healthcare, and earnings of people in Maryland.

With Donald Trump in the White House and dysfunction in Congress, the bar for leadership is pretty low these days. It’s easy to get complacent about the progress we still have to make when we’ve come to expect so little. That’s why I’m making my campaign about reclaiming the promise of Maryland, instead of settling for a status quo that is unaffordable for too many.

That status quo is especially unaffordable for our college students and college graduates saddled with rising tuition costs and the enormous burden of student debt. That’s why I have proposed making community college tuition-free and four-year universities debt-free.

But the student debt crisis won’t just be solved by making our public colleges and universities more affordable. We already have college graduates who are put off buying their first homes, starting businesses, and saving for retirement because they have to pay off a significant portion of their income to student debt. We also have more than 60,000 students in independent and private colleges and universities who are getting skills we badly need in our economy—we need them to have an affordable education, too. That’s especially important when you consider the fact that six Maryland counties have no public college or university and only have MICUA institutions.

That’s why I’m proud that my college affordability plan calls for Maryland to join 10 other states that offer refinancing programs for student loans. While graduates of our independent and private colleges have much lower loan default rates than public college graduates, we still need to make sure they can move on with their financial future.

Aligning our educational institutions with our economy has to start with expanded career and technical education access in our high schools and community colleges. But that doesn’t change the fact that more than 60% of the jobs in our economy will soon require a four-year degree. We rely on Notre Dame of Maryland University’s nursing program, McDaniel College’s teacher preparation program, Johns Hopkins University’s engineering program, and so many other MICUA degree programs to keep Maryland running every day. That’s why the state will continue to provide operating budget support for student financial aid and program costs, as well as supplemental funding for facilities, for independent and private colleges and universities when I am governor.

I hope the students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff that make up the MICUA community will join my growing coalition of working families, whether that is donating to our campaign, knocking on doors, making phone calls, or spreading our message on social media. Let’s finally deliver the kind of real lasting change we have waited too long to see.

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