Meyer: We need strong institutions like universities to counter autocracy | Opinion

Dr. Ronald Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University, uses his recent book, “What Universities Owe Democracy”, to make a clear appeal to campuses across the country to teach undergraduates the principles of citizenship in a democracy as well as the necessary skills. operate successfully in a pluralistic and diverse society like ours. Daniels warns that “at a time when democracy is in danger and more countries are moving towards autocracy than at any time in generations”, independent universities have an “indispensable role” to play in a modern democracy. like ours.

Daniels identifies four key ways in which universities can continue and strengthen support for democracy:

1. Provide opportunities for social mobility through interaction with faculty, other students and leaders with expertise in areas such as government, industry, science, medicine, art and literature.

2. Offer civic education classes to teach the principles and practices of democratic citizenship.

3. Identify “the facts and knowledge that shape public policy and help restore confidence in science and expertise”.

4. Invite leaders from all walks of life to campus who can provide role models for students on how to ask tough questions, be open to dissent and new ideas.

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