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In August 1999, the Presidents' Fourth of July Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education, drafted by a select group of scholars and college presidents that was convened by Campus Compact and the American Council on Education (ACE), hit the streets. It said,

"We have a fundamental task to renew our role as agents of our democracy. This task is both urgent and long-term. There is growing evidence of disengagement of many Americans from the communal life of our society, in general, and from the responsibilities of democracy in particular. We share a special concern about the disengagement of college students from democratic participation. A chorus of studies reveals that students are not connected to the larger purposes and aspirations of the American democracy. Voter turnout is low. Feelings that political participation will not make any difference are high. Added to this, there is a profound sense of cynicism and lack of trust in the political process ....

This country cannot afford to educate a generation that acquires knowledge without ever understanding how that knowledge can benefit society or how to influence democratic decision making. We must teach the skills and values of democracy, creating innumerable opportunities for out students to practice and reap the results of the real, hard work of citizenship" (2).