President Kaplan to Host Open Dialogue on Controversial Issues
October 8, 2016
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After recent controversy over university dealings with controversial issues, President Steven Kaplan sent out a message to students on Thursday evening announcing an open dialogue discussion on controversial issues and how we can communicate these issues with one another.
This panel, moderated by University of New Haven professor Marty O’Connor. It will involve President Kaplan and other members of the campus community. This talk will focus on how to communicate when faced with controversial topics and how to learn from each other by using civil discourse and having a free exchange of ideas.
“Our community values of excellence, responsibility, respect, understanding, integrity and service which make up the Charger Compact are the foundation for how we interact as a community,” Kaplan said.
On Friday, the Undergraduate Student Government Association’s Executive Board made an official statement regarding the Sheriff Clarke controversy, directly targeting the way conversations have been exchanged via social media about the topic.
Below is the full statement, read by USGA President Samantha Moul at Friday’s USGA meeting:
“I would like to, on behalf of my whole Executive Board, make a statement regarding the issues with Sherriff Clarke as we have been implored by many student leaders to do so. The Markle Symposium, not affiliated with student activities in any way, did not become a student issue in our eyes until the student body became divided. The comments we saw on social media, are not how we expected that young adults would speak to one another and therefore our stance is this:
If this is not a teaching moment for all us, we don’t know what is. The way in which our students felt it was appropriate to express their opinions was not done in a respectful manner and now, we are unsure as to how our campus community will recover from this divide. I please ask that you each take the time, even if it is just a few moments out of your day, to recognize that being educated and forming an opinion as you grow, also means that if you are willing to take a strong stance on one matter, you are also willing to do so maturely and look at both sides. If you truly view this as an issue regarding Sherriff Clark’s freedom of speech, whether you agree with him or not, then you must understand that everyone has that same right. Voicing your opinions and belittling the voice of others are NOT the same thing and will solve nothing, only perpetuating this issue that we feel has done far too much damage. We want to help UNH recover from this experience and please, if you have any ideas on how such progress could be made, please feel free to reach out to us.”
The open dialogue discussion will take place on Monday October 10 at 12 noon in the Alumni Lounge.