AAC&U Statement on the Attack on the US Capitol

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ mission has taken on a new sense of urgency following the attack on the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine the results of a lawful election and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. AAC&U’s commitment to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education stems from the conviction that a liberal education best prepares citizens to engage in democracy. This conviction is grounded in the understanding that democracy is not self-sustaining; rather, it depends upon the sustained engagement of free people united in their commitment to the fundamental principles of justice, liberty, human dignity, and equality of persons. The task of an education allied to democracy is not simply to help students gain knowledge and skills. It is to also assist students in forming the habits of heart and mind that liberate their thinking and equip them for, and dispose them to, the creation of a more just, equitable, and inclusive society through civic involvement. These skills are more critical than ever as our nation confronts the patterns of rising authoritarianism signaled by the tragic events of January 6, 2021. During these challenging times, we are committed to supporting all institutions of higher education in fulfilling our shared objective of educating for democracy.