Campus Spotlight: ADP at CSUF Does Dialogue Right
By Stephanie South, Program Associate, AASCU
Facebook has been aflutter with political commentary and heated debate over a variety of hot-button issues ever since the election ended but especially in recent weeks as a result of the Connecticut shootings and the fiscal cliff issues facing Congress.
While advocates of civil discourse are no doubt glad that people are coming to the table to talk, speech that is divisive and unproductive is not necessarily the desired outcome.
Perhaps this is why the American Democracy Project at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) hosted a series of town hall meetings aimed at engaging students and teachers in discussion around the topics that are most likely to produce these kind of disputes. The goal of the gatherings is to bring the peace back to participation. To educate students how and get them to engage in dialogue that is informed and free of hostility. Discussions that move people from shouting to listening and the community from screaming to solutions.
The first series of these town halls was focused on social policy and drew over 250 attendees on the first day. A session on economics followed it a couple days later, and the most recent one focused on civil rights and liberties—including same-sex marriage, women’s rights, immigration, and legalization of marijuana.