The University cherishes freedom of expression on our campuses while simultaneously ensuring an environment in which people are treated with respect and feel safe to express their views.
President Kirk Schulz, Provost Dan Bernardo, and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Melynda Huskey recently noted that the “free exchange of ideas while encouraging dialogue that is constructive, respectful and civil is one of the university’s core values.” They also shared some helpful tips on constructive dialogue:
These conversations can be hard. There are times when other people express ideas we find repugnant and painful, or even just foolish. Balancing someone’s right to express a personal belief with our own right to disagree requires some care. There are many ways to offer your perspective. A few of them include:
- Use your First Amendment rights to put together a demonstration, forum, debate, or protest. (Students were provided a link to their campus’ student affairs office that can help them plan a campus activity).
- Find your voice through social media, student government and organizations, civic engagement, and the press—there are many options.
- Engage in those challenging conversations and express your values and beliefs, whether it’s one-on-one, in a classroom, on the mall, or at a party.
Don’t forget to care for yourself when conversations get intense. Consider how much energy you want to put into a discussion, and what you—and the people you’re engaged with—are getting out of it. Be involved in ways that reflect your values, and what matters to you. Use the resources around you, including our faculty, advisors, and staff in any of the offices that serve students, for support and advice.
As you talk with the people around you, whether you agree or disagree, we hope you will do so with rigor, attention, respect, and kindness. You likely will never again have such a great opportunity to learn from so many different people, representing a wide range of perspectives and experiences. Don’t let a moment of the opportunity go to waste!
Read more here:
WSU News Post, WSU committed to free expression, access to higher ed
WSU Office of the President Post, Constructive dialogue and valuing diversity