Other Group

Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE)

Website:

idhe.tufts.edu/

Location:

Medford, MA

Director:

Nancy Thomas

Type:

Voting and civic engagement advocacy

Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) is an organization dedicated to promoting political activism and discussion on university campuses. It asserts that it is a non-partisan group, and that education is inherently “political,” which it distinguishes from “partisan.” [1] IDHE activity includes recommendations and resources for school faculty to teach students how and where to vote. [2]

IDHE is a part of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The organization supports left-wing academic concepts. [3]

National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement

Institute for Democracy and Higher Education’s primary project is the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a database of college student voting patterns across the United States. The NSLVE was formed in 2012 in response to a U.S. Department of Education “call to action” to increase civic engagement on college campuses. [4]

As of November 2022, the NSLVE has data on 10 million students across more than 1,229 college campuses. [5] IDHE partners on the NSLVE with the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit that collects data on students across the country for research purposes. Schools that sign up with the NSLVE receive a report that estimates their student body’s voting and registration rate broken down by age, class level, field of study, race and ethnicity, and gender. [6] [7]

Student Vote Choice

In October 2022, the Andrew Goodman Foundation announced it was partnering with the Anti-Defamation League, Deliver My Vote, Hillel International, the National Vote at Home Institute, and the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education on Student Vote Choice, a get-out-the-vote campaign targeted at students. The campaign will support establishing polling stations on college campuses, as well as the promotion of mail-in ballots. [8]

George Floyd Response

In June 2020, the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education released a letter in response to the killing of George Floyd, calling for an end to “structural racism and the economic, social, and political systems that preserve the status quo.” The letter lists numerous actions taken by universities and campus groups which the IDHE endorses, including rescinding college admissions letters due to racist comments posted on social media, declaring racism a “public health crisis,” promoting voting to challenge racial profiling, assigning mandatory classes on racial history, establishing a “race and equity training program,” and requiring student staff members to take classes with the Racial Equity Institute. [9] IDHE advocates Racial Equity Tools for the classroom. [10]

In its publication “Election Imperatives 2020,” the IDHE recommended that universities encourage faculty members to engage in “professional development” in “racial justice” and “equitable practices.” The piece also recommends that students learn how “structural racism and unequal access to voting… explain[s] equity gaps in voting,” with the given example of white students having a higher voter registration rate partially because they are more likely to have drivers’ licenses. [11] But in the IDHE’s paper “College Voter Turnout Gaps,” the organization found that Black students voted and registered at a higher rate than white students in two out of the four election cycles from 2012 to 2018, and that the gap between the two never passed three percent in white students’ favor. [12]

Research

The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education conducts research on civic engagement on college campuses. For instance, in October 2021, the NSLVE published a paper arguing that students, especially racial- and ethnic-minority students, are more likely to be the targets of gerrymandering which results in lost voting power. [13]

References

  1. Thomas, Nancy. “How Faculty Can Prepare To Handle The Post-Election Classroom.” Scholars Strategy Network. October 2020. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/v/idhe-post-election-classroom. ^
  2. Thomas, Nancy; Gismondi, Adam; and Upchurch, Kyle. “Election Imperatives 2020.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/v/idhe-election-imperatives-2020. ^
  3. “About Us.” Institute for Democracy and Higher Education.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/about-us. ^
  4. “The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve. ^
  5. “Participating NSLVE Campuses.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve/participating-campuses. ^
  6. “About NSLVE.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve/nslve-faq. ^
  7. “The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve. ^
  8. Sasser, Margaret. “The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Five Partner Organizations Launch National ‘Student Vote Choice’ Campaign To Promote Student Voting Rights Ahead of 2022 and 2024 Elections.” Andrew Goodman Foundation. October 18, 2022. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://andrewgoodman.org/news-list/the-andrew-goodman-foundation-and-five-partner-organizations-launch-national-student-vote-choice-campaign-to-promote-student-voting-rights-ahead-of-2022-and-2024-elections/. ^
  9. [1] “Campus Actions and Racial Justice.” Tufts University. June 5, 2020. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://idhe.tufts.edu/resources/campus-actions-and-racial-injustice. ^
  10. Thomas, Nancy. “How Faculty Can Prepare To Handle The Post-Election Classroom.” Scholars Strategy Network. October 2020. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/v/idhe-post-election-classroom. ^
  11. Thomas, Nancy; Gismondi, Adam; Upchurch, Kyle. “Election Imperatives 2020.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/v/idhe-election-imperatives-2020. ^
  12. “College Voting Turnout Gaps.” Tufts University. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/v/idhe-voting-turnout-gaps. ^
  13. Gautam, Prabhat; Thomas, Nancy; and Stein, Rebecca. “Student and Minority Student Communities of Interest for Shaping Voting Districts.” Tufts University. October 21, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://tufts.app.box.com/s/2o8c1waiyfksawrjwmy2b67plh3kb85k. ^
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Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE)


Medford, MA