November 3, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Today is a day of consequence. Millions of voters—many of you among them—will cast ballots today in races at every level of our government, including, of course, for the American presidency. I urge all who are eligible to vote to make your voice heard. This powerful act is both a privilege and a responsibility of citizenship. Voting is fundamental to a democracy.

For those of you who are registered in this neighborhood, our polling station is conveniently located on Vernon Street, just across the street from campus in the Learning Corridor. For more information on same-day voter registration, or other voter information, please visit

The results of most elections in my lifetime have been clear on election night or the day after. One exception to that was the presidential election of 2000. That year, the outcome wasn’t known until December 12, when the U.S. Supreme Court ended a recount dispute in Florida and thereby awarded the state’s 25 electoral votes—and the presidency—to George W. Bush.

This year is unprecedented, and we simply can’t predict when the outcomes of today’s elections will be known. My hope is that the outcome of the presidential election will become clear swiftly and that the winner will seek to unite the country and address issues important for our common humanity.

As we await results, and in the days and months to come, remember that we are a community comprising diverse backgrounds and political beliefs. We should challenge ideas, not motives; we should engage respectfully in civil discourse and debate, not demonize individuals with whom we disagree.

Trinity is at its best—and its power to transform at its greatest—when we choose to connect through shared experiences and values rather than allow ourselves to be divided by differences.

Today, if you haven’t already done so, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, and please do so safely. Your vote is consequential.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience