Logo Trust and The Vote

Trust & The Vote is a series of events exploring the history and philosophy of trust and distrust in the democratic process. By exploring the history and rhetoric of civic engagement, the symposia addresses the challenge and balance of trust and skepticism as communities work toward sustaining democratic societies.

Over the course of the 2023-2024 academic year, C21 will offer an array of programming and content exploring how trust plays a role in our relationship to democratic processes: transparency in policy decisions, civic engagement and participation as contingent upon trust, and storytelling as a means of repairing distrust.

As with all C21 symposia, Trust & The Vote will include multiple points of access honoring multiple ways of knowing, allowing academic scholars, community experts, and general audiences to investigate the significance of trust in assessing the effectiveness of democratic processes.


The University and Its Role in Democracy   

  • March 28, 2024  
  • 1:30-3PM Central 

Many states, including Wisconsin, have required civic education in K-12 schools.  
But what is the role of public higher education in shaping our democracy?   
What responsibilities do universities have to support and maintain our democracy as it faces unprecedented threats?  
Join UWM’s Kennan Ferguson as he facilitates a conversation between a university president, a historian who challenges the economic practices of universities, and a student who has gathered student responses to these questions.   

  • Ron Daniels (President, Johns Hopkins University)  
  • Davarian Baldwin (Historian, Trinity College)  
  • Bailee Jones (UWM student government)  
  • Kennan Ferguson – Facilitator (UWM, Political Science)  

Scaling Trust and the Emotions of Voting Roundtable  

  • April 4, 2024  
  • 1:30-3PM Central  
  • Curtin 175 and Virtual

The heat is up on voting – and it will only get hotter.  
How are emotions being triggered, used and experienced to motivate civic engagement? What has caused the partisan inflammation and what are the best approaches to cooling the emotional environment?   
Join Kennan Ferguson as he facilitates a conversation between a political scientist, a sociologist and a community organizer.   

Book Club

To expand the scope of our roundtable conversations, the Interactive Book Club is a resource to promote discussion, collaboration, and exploration. In line with the topics of each roundtable in the Trust & The Vote series, we have put together a book club, complete with guest recommendations from panelists and other relative resources.

See the Trust & The Vote Book Club series below