FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 3, 2012 CONTACT: Chris Bowling, 202-236-5889 (cell) chris@lunamediagroup.


Michael McDevitt of CU Boulder Joins Nonpartisan Commission to Study and Inform Policies on Youth Voting
Commission on Youth Voting & Civic Knowledge Focused on “Wide Range” of Influences, e.g. State Voting Laws, Civic Education Policies
Tisch College, Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, MA—Today, CIRCLE, Tufts University’s premier center for the study of youth engagement, announced the selection of Michael McDevitt, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado at Boulder, to serve on the nonpartisan Commission on Youth Voting & Civic Knowledge charged with investigating the civic knowledge, engagement and turnout patterns of young Americans 29 and under. The commission, announced last week, will be comprised of a bipartisan group of 14 scholars and experts from across the country and will conclude its work in the spring of 2013 with a comprehensive report outlining recommendations on how to strengthen the civic participation of America’s youth. McDevitt said: "My research highlights the capacity of youth to act as information leaders in low-income and Latino families. Classroom discussion spills over into living rooms during campaigns cycles, and both parents and youth are more likely to vote when the family becomes a safe space for political discussion. This scenario of trickle-up influence is only possible, however, when schools allow youth to talk freely about political issues." Spencer Foundation President Michael S. McPherson, one of the main grant funders of the commission’s work, said, “The policy choices our nation makes in coming years will affect profoundly the lives and fortunes of today's young people. Helping them to become active and effective participants in shaping their and our common future is a profoundly important challenge. We are proud to help support this commission, which we expect will do much to help us learn how to address that challenge.” The Commission on Youth Voting & Civic Knowledge was formed in response to controversies about recent voting laws (for instance, the new state photo ID laws) as well as debates about civic education in schools and colleges. It will, however, take a broader view, considering a wide range of potential influences on political knowledge and engagement. The commission begins with no position on the existing or proposed policies; its deliberations will be heavily influenced by new data collected during and immediately after the 2012 election.

The Commission is funded by the Spencer Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Youth Engagement Fund, the W.T. Grant Foundation, and the Chicago Community Trust and will be under the leadership of CIRCLE director Peter Levine and staffed by CIRCLE’s team of researchers and analysts. ### CIRCLE ( is a nonpartisan, independent, academic research center that studies young people in politics and presents detailed data on young voters in all 50 states. CIRCLE was founded in 2001 with a generous gift from the Pew Charitable Trusts and is part of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. CIRCLE's reputation for reliable, independent, timely research has been hailed by experts in the field of civic partnership, such as Harvard University professor Robert Putnam who said CIRCLE has brought "the best and most serious research to one place.” The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service ( is a national leader whose model and research are setting the standard for higher education’s role in civic engagement education. Serving every school of Tufts University, Tisch College creates an enduring culture that prepares students to be lifelong active citizens. Tufts University ( located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized as one of the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful