Civil Discourse series begins Jan. 14

Publication Date

The College’s Diversity Leadership Team has announced a three-part discussion series this month to promote civil discourse, part of the College’s Constructive Engagement initiative.

“I’m Right, You’re Wrong: A Civil Discourse Series at Union College” begins Thursday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. with a discussion by students, staff and faculty moderated by President David Harris.

It will be followed by two fireside chats, one on Jan. 19 at 11 a.m., the other Jan. 28 at 5 p.m.

Zoom links will be shared in campus emails.

In a campus message after the attack on the Capitol, President Harris urged participation in the series. “I know the unspeakable actions today in Washington, D.C. are difficult to watch and comprehend. I share your concerns about what it means for the country as it seeks to move forward with a new administration. I am hopeful that we will learn from today’s actions and reassert ourselves as a model for democracies around the world. Achieving this goal will take work by all of us.

In preparation for the series, the Diversity Leadership Team is suggesting resources:

Braver Angels: Reuniting America

A documentary about a Braver Angels Red/Blue Workshop in South Lebanon, Ohio.

The Lost Art of Democratic Debate

TED Talk by Michael Sandel, professor of political philosophy, Harvard University

A Plea for Civil Discourse

Andrea Leskes. Association of American Colleges & Universities

Promoting civil discourse in undergraduate education.

Promoting Civil Discourse in Troubling Times

American University resource center asking: “What are some of the ways that we can create classroom environments in which students can respectfully address strong differences in perspectives?”

I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers. To borrow: A copy is available at the Schaffer library and can be viewed utilizing Union College credentials; or, visit your local public library. To purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, or connect with our College Bookstore.

Support for Constructive Engagement comes from Kelly Williams '86 and her husband, Andrew Forsyth, through the Williams Legacy Foundation.

The Diversity Leadership Team consists of four chief diversity officers: Dru Alvez, assistant director of Intercultural Affairs/Student Affairs; Christa Grant, assistant dean for Intercultural Affairs/Student Affairs; Deidre Hill Butler, director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and associate professor of sociology; and Mary Simeoli, Title IX Coordinator and interim director of Equal Opportunity.