Mantella announces Presidential Roundtable Series following political upheaval


Courtesy: GVSU Student Senate

President Mantella meets with a group of senators at a general assembly meeting in 2019

Elizabeth Schanz

Following the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6,  Grand Valley State University President Philomena Mantella issued an email condemning the actions and violence that took place. Mantella denounced the attempts to overturn a fair and free election.

Grand Valley is defined by fair, rigorous and open intellectual exchange offered with respect for the rule of law, democracy and the inclusion of people of all backgrounds,” Mantella said in the email. “Profound pain delivers to us the opportunity to strengthen ourselves, our community and our nation.”

Following these events, Mantella announced her plans for the Presidential Roundtable Series entitled, “The Constitution, Elections and Democracy” in an effort to better connect these events to the campus community. This series will feature Mantella and three former GVSU Presidents: Arend Lubbers, Mark Murray and Thomas Haas. 

“We are so fortunate to have my three predecessors still in the area, still committed to education and Grand Valley and moved enough to join me in providing experiences that will both educate and inspire,” said Mantella. 

The event is partnering with many other organizations and programs found on campus. These connections include Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program in the Meijer Honors College, the Office of Student Life and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. By intertwining the university’s resources, it continues to connect the wider community to the liberal arts education found on campus. 

Working to actively have additional educational opportunities to help explain the turmoil within society and the foundational principles within the country are strong priorities to this series. The contents of this series will focus on topics that work to better connect the GVSU community to the world as a whole. The series will cover the topics listed in the title of the series — Constitution, elections and democracy — as well as the state of journalism and social media in the political landscape and dialogue. 

“We will bring out the best in our divided nation by talking to each other and more importantly by listening and learning,” said Mantella. 

By emphasizing the importance of these conversations on-campus, students will be able to have a plethora of viewpoints and knowledge. Mantella hopes to make the discussions interactive so that the viewers of the session will be able to engage in asking questions and having open conversations. 

The discussions held by Mantella and her predecessors are in hopes to unite and inform all people. Details are yet to come regarding the series, but are currently planned to be virtual and be open to the students and the community.