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“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society, but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”
Thomas Jefferson

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the current state of our democracy. We live in a largely affluent society in which the majority of members may never be exposed to the hunger, poverty, and disenfranchisement still suffered by many of our citizens; in which the pursuit of individual liberty and prosperity has overshadowed the importance of community and citizen participation in advancing the common good.

We believe that the preservation of our democracy is dependent upon the realization of all citizens that as we enjoy the rights and privileges that democracy bestows on us, so must we accept the duties and responsibilities it demands from us.

We are creating the University College of Citizenship and Public Service* for the purpose of educating all members of the Tufts community in the values and skills of active citizenship, with the goal of producing committed community leaders who will take an active role in addressing the core problems of society throughout their lifetimes, whatever professions they may choose.

Our intention is that the University College of Citizenship and Public Service will become a national model for leadership by institutions of higher education in promoting the American ideals of citizen participation in the democratic process, civic responsibility and service to the community.

The University College of Citizenship and Public Service will accomplish its early goals by implementing the following:

  • A program of financial aid awards to selected students who will be designated the Omidyar Citizenship and Public Service Scholars; they will receive guidance in the development of leadership skills and will be involved in organizing and leading activities that set an example of citizenship for the Tufts community
  • A program of institutes and workshops to assist faculty members in integrating aspects of citizenship and public service into courses throughout the University
  • A program of freshman seminars, field experiences, career workshops and capstone projects that will encourage students to develop their own personal mission and vision based on their individual strengths, talents, and sense of purpose
  • A Clearinghouse and Resource Center that will gather and disseminate information on innovative teaching materials, internship opportunities, public service activities, and community service organizations for the purpose of facilitating communication between faculty, students, and community organizations
  • A Community Leadership Seed Capital Fund that will provide support to faculty members, students, and campus organizations for the development of innovative approaches to encourage active citizenship and address community issues
  • A program for evaluating the components of the UCCPS, channeling additional support to the most successful components, and sharing information on successful strategies in education for active citizenship
  • A National Advisory Board of prominent citizen leaders who will be involved in decision-making, fundraising, and ambassadorship for the UCCPS

We dedicate ourselves to the successful establishment of the University College of Citizenship and Public Service in order to educate a new generation of committed and engaged citizens who will ensure that the American model of participatory democracy continues to flourish.

John DiBiaggio
President

Pierre Omidyar
Trustee, The Omidyar Foundation

Alan Solomont
Chair, UCCPS Advisory Board

Pamela Omidyar
Trustee, The Omidyar Foundation

Melvin Bernstein
Vice President, Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

Brian O’Connell
Trustee, Tufts University

Robert Hollister
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Molly Mead
Director, Programming and Administration, UCCPS

Badi Foster
Director, Lincoln Filene Center

Rachel Bratt
Chair, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy

Larry Harris
President, TCU Senate

Dan Loudman
President, Leonard Carmichael Society
April 21, 2000

*Renamed the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service in May 2006, and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life in 2016