Levin Center announces new name, releases promotional video


Recently, the Levin Center at Wayne Law announced that from now on it will be known as the Carl Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy. In conjunction with the announcement, the Levin Center released its first-ever promotional video aimed at highlighting the Center’s mission and programs. Information about the Levin Center’s decision to modify its name is available in a letter from Jim Townsend, the Center’s director, and Eugene Driker, the chair of the Center’s Advisory Board.

“We have been talking internally about the need to include in our name elements that describe our mission and work,” said Townsend. “Tomorrow, it will have been nine months since the passing of our founder and namesake, Senator Carl Levin. It seemed like a good time to announce our new name, which we hope speaks to his legacy and the impact and aspirations of the Center’s work,” Townsend added.

“Naming an organization can be challenging and complicated, so the Center engaged many people in our decision-making process, including the Levin family, the Levin Center Advisory Board, its Faculty Advisory Committee, and others,” said Driker. “We want to thank everyone who helped us. Their perspectives on the meaning of Senator Levin’s work, the example he set, and the goals of the Center were invaluable to us.”

The Levin Center’s revised name and new promotional video aim to communicate the link between legislative oversight and the civic values and norms that uphold our democracy. “By championing the values and techniques of bipartisan legislative fact-finding, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is building a pathway of trust and civic respect among lawmakers in Washington and across the United States,” Townsend said. “We are working every day to enable lawmakers and the public to separate fact from fiction and strengthen institutions at the core of our democracy.”

To keep the formal name reasonable in length and consistent with the naming of comparable organizations, it will no longer include the words “at Wayne Law.” However, the Levin Center remains a proud part of its host institution, Wayne State University Law School, and its community of outstanding students, faculty, and staff.

“Our participation in the Wayne Law and entire university community continues to expand with a new externship program in Washington, D.C., research assistantships for law students and graduate students, civic education programs, and much more,” said Townsend. “The opportunities for educational and scholarly collaboration with Wayne State are almost limitless and we look forward to partnering with the Law School and other departments of the University for many years to come.”    

The Carl Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator who spent 36 years in the Senate conducting fact-based, bipartisan oversight investigations. The Center’s mission is to strengthen the integrity, transparency, and accountability of public and private institutions through the promotion and support of bipartisan, fact-based legislative oversight; to advance good governance, particularly with respect to the legislative process; and to promote civil discourse on current issues of public policy. While the Levin Center is affiliated with Wayne State University Law School, its views do not present the institutional views, if any, of Wayne State University or the Law School.


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