WUmester to examine citizenship, suffrage

WUmester 2020: The topic of citizenship and suffrage for WUmester 2020 was influenced by the upcoming national election and 150-year anniversary of the fifteenth amendment, according to the official Washburn University webpage.

Wesley Tabor

What does it mean to be a U.S. citizen?

Citizenship has carried a varied definition throughout history and across regions – proving that it’s not a static concept.

This spring semester, Washburn University’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee hopes to provide clarity regarding that question by hosting numerous events across campus.

The committee, chaired by Dr. Kelly Erby, helped to create and write the content that can be found at the WUmester webpage.

The webpage states that “citizenship can be a powerful bond between people and their government, and it can provide a basis for unity for people within a nation.”

The 2020 U.S. national election influenced the topics chosen by the diversity and inclusion committee.

2020 is also a census year, where the United States Constitution requires that every resident of the nation be counted for the purposes of allocating representation in Congress. This decision provides the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The webpage provides the following information about why the university is choosing to examine citizenship and suffrage this spring.

The very notion of “citizenship” is what has often relegated members to the margins of society. Citizenship is always about who belongs, but it is also about who does not belong… citizenship can provide a sense of shared identity and a social and civic bond, the status of citizenship or non-citizenship can also discount, segregate, and reject.  

According to the diversity and inclusion committee, WUmester 2020 will examine citizenship and suffrage across the world and throughout history. It will invite participants to become civically minded and engaged, as well as [become] empathetic to disenfranchised and oppressed populations.

Erby said in an email Thursday, Jan. 2 that times and dates for several of the upcoming events have already been confirmed.

A full list of upcoming WUmester events can be found here.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison