November 5, 2018

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Tomorrow is an important day for our community and our nation. As American citizens, we are endowed by those who came before us with the privilege and the responsibility of participating in our democratic process. Our voices matter, and tomorrow we once again have the opportunity to express our voices by voting. And the eyes of the world will be on us as a country.

In my conversations around campus, I have been encouraged by how many of you are taking seriously your civic responsibility to vote. Many of you may have already voted by absentee ballot in your home states. For all others who are U.S. citizens of voting age, I urge you to exercise your civic duty by voting tomorrow, whatever your political affiliation. If you are not already registered to vote, you’re in luck: Connecticut is one of 16 states that allow Election Day Registration. To take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll need to register and vote in the first-floor atrium of City Hall in Hartford, 550 Main Street, between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. You will need proof of identity and of your residence in Hartford (for students living on campus, you can access and display your residence hall information on mobile devices through TC Online’s student directory).

I cannot emphasize enough how important your voices are. Be heard. Vote.

As we head into what may be a challenging day tomorrow, I also want to take this moment to ask us all to remember who we are and what we value as a community. Given the political diversity of our community, there are bound to be those who feel like winners and losers tomorrow. No matter the outcome of various political contests, no matter who claims victory, we all lose if we allow ourselves to be divided. Please hold each other’s humanity close tomorrow and in the days to come, remembering that we are an educational community that values diversity of opinion, that embraces different perspectives, and that strives to be truly inclusive.

The hate, violence, and divisive rhetoric we have witnessed across the country in recent days weigh heavy on our hearts, and many of us are feeling anxious heading into Election Day. On our own campus, incidents of discrimination and harassment over the last year have made many of our community members feel excluded and anxious, too. Today, let us all recommit to our core values as a liberal arts college—diversity, inclusion, freedom of expression, fact-based discussions, and civil dialogue across differences of opinion. And let us stand united against attempts to divide us.

Tomorrow’s results can’t heal our nation, but through our individual actions—by voting and by showing respect and kindness to each other—we can live up to the ideals upon which it was founded.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience