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CLA Professor Profile: Chris Uggen

In the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) you will be taught by world-renowned professors. These folks are not only outstanding teachers and scholars, but also are engaged in research and creative works. U of M undergraduates are often involved in these projects, working side-by-side with faculty and graduate students. You can get to know some of our amazing professors by taking a look at our professor profiles.

This week, I would like to highlight some of the accomplishments of Chris Uggen, chair of the sociology department and a Distinguished McKnight Professor. Professor Uggen advocates for more boldness from professors. He "believes that faculty are too timid; that they should be bold in tackling the issues people care about. And perhaps more to the point--issues that many of us haven't been asked to care about."

Dr. Uggen co-wrote the book Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy with Jeff Manza, which agrues for the restoration of voting rights for criminals. "The outline of the book was based on a series of articles, and it was going to close with a public opinion poll and not formulate a policy stance. But the evidence was just very powerful on a number of fronts, and so we ended up taking a position that would lead to re-enfranchisement," says Uggen. 

As a professor held to the standard of "advocating with facts," Uggen came to the conclusion, supported in part by public opinion, that voting rights should be restored to criminals who have completed their sentence, are on probation or on parole. He supports his claims in his book and has more recently written articles that focus more specifically on disenfranchisement in Minnesota which currently denies the right to vote for anyone convicted of a felony who is incarcerated, on probation, or on parole.

You can read more about about about Professor Uggen by checking out his profile.


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