Augustana University Launching New Initiative Ahead of 2020 General Election

This election season, Augustana is proud to announce that the university is launching a new initiative to encourage listening, learning and civil discourse through an effort called “With Malice Toward None.”

"With Malice Toward None" is an initiative imagined by Braver Angels, a national bipartisan group formed around the 2016 presidential election to bring “reds” and “blues,” Republicans and Democrats, together for respectful conversation in hopes of growing understanding and discovering common ground.

With the encouragement and support of Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and under the leadership of Campus Pastor Rev. Ann Rosendale and a team of faculty, staff and students of all political persuasions, Augustana is taking up the "With Malice Toward None" initiative around the 2020 presidential election.

Rosendale reflects on what drew her to the initiative, “The strength of Braver Angels’ work is that it is truly bipartisan. Conversations are not intended to persuade the other side, nor are they meant to turn into fierce arguments about policy. The point of the 'With Malice Toward None' initiative is to get people of opposing political persuasions talking to one another and really listening to one another with the hope of finding common ground. Participants are encouraged to reflect critically on their own point-of-view and imagine the good faith that the other side brings to the table.”

Augustana students, staff and faculty have been invited to sign an Election 2020: With Malice Toward None Pledge committing to remain civil no matter the outcome of the election. Additionally, the "With Malice Toward None" planning team will host three events between now and Inauguration Day as an opportunity to put the pledge into practice.

“A great gift of the Augustana community is the variety of political opinions that exist on campus. Our university is fertile ground for having challenging conversations and modeling for the rest of the world how they can be done with humility and empathy. I have every confidence that Augustana Vikings will rise to the occasion, learning and growing even from those with whom they disagree,” said Rosendale.

The first event at Augustana is taking place on Saturday, October 24, just ten days before the election. These events, intended for the AU community, will be carefully moderated to ensure respect and civility and follow Braver Angels’ model of constructive dialogue across differences.  To get a sense of how these event(s) will look, please watch a few short videos.


Program Questions: Contact Rev. Ann Rosendale, campus pastor.

Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.