Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression Gatherings Jan. - Apr.

How shall we react to rising divisiveness in civil society?

What do we really owe to each other?

Why is freedom of expression worth protecting?

When do incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, or Islamophobia necessitate collective response?

Who are our role models for deeply listening to those with whom we may disagree?
People Eating

Big, bold questions require deep, meaningful discussion. In the face of mounting polarization in the civil and political spheres, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion encourages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to come together for conversations that will challenge, develop, and inspire.

These Gatherings are a chance to practice the elements of our larger programmatic theme—collectively considering the possibilities and tensions related to   Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression.  Organized into groups of 10, participants will engage in deep listening and intentional conversation on a variety of topics, such as the role of the media in 21st-century democracy, how technological advances have reshaped notions of civility, what challenges exist related to protecting freedom of expression on college campuses, and so on 

Combining elements from a variety of models such as Jeffersonian Dinners, the Circle Way, and the National Conversation Project, these innovative Gatherings will follow a gentle structure meant to ensure that all participants are able to hear and be heard. Unlike debate or deliberative discussion, the point is not to reach consensus on any issue, but rather to experience dialogue together—to practice speaking with intentionality and listening with curiosity.   

Prospective participants may join by providing their availability for the following free events, which will be repeated throughout the semester.

  • Sunday Dinners – 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • Monday Lunches – 11:30 - 1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday Dinners – 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday Breakfasts – 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
  • Thursday Dinners – 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday Coffees – 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Once matched with a specific gathering, guests will receive an email notification confirming the date and time of their event. A second email, sent one week prior to the event, will contain the location of the gathering.

To join, submit your availability, via the following link.

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