Debate standards released for upcoming 2016 Presidential Debates

Institute for Civil Civic Engagement, National Institute for Civil Discourse Call for Civility In Presidential Debates

The Institute for Civil Civic Engagement (a collaboration between the University of San Diego and the San Diego Community College District’s Mesa, City, and Miramar colleges) has joined the National Institute for Civil Discourse in calling on the presidential debate moderators to adopt a set of debate standards designed to ensure that the 2016 Presidential Debates are fair, informative, and civil. More than 60 organizations signed on to the debate standards, which include guidelines for moderators, the audience, and the candidates themselves.

This election is the most uncivil in recent memory, and Americans agree. According to recent polling, 69 percent of Americans agree that civility has decreased in the past few years, and two out of three voters say the 2016 campaign is less civil than other elections. Unlike Captain America, today, America is engaged in a most "Un-Civil Civil War" said Dr. Carl Luna, ICCE Director.

We need our candidates in these debates to remember that they are setting the bar for civility not only for voters but for the children of this country as well. "After the constant vitriol and caustic rhetoric this campaign has wreaked on America's political landscape, the debates represent our last best chance for a civil reset, for Americans to come together and hearing the candidates," said Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. "We urge the moderators to adopt the National Institute for Civil Discourse’s Debate Standard and therefore ensure a civil debate, where both sides are heard and respected and treated equally."

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. NICD was formed after the tragic shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, and their National Advisory Board includes former President George H.W. Bush and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.