CEHV Addresses Controversial Topics

December 22, 2023

CEHV Addresses Controversial Topics

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Through its multifaceted programming for students, staff, and faculty at OSU, CEHV’s Civil Discourse for Citizenship Program is committed to fostering civil discourse on campus and beyond. While civil discourse is not the only valuable form of engagement, it is crucial for any community where people from different walks of life search together for knowledge,mutual understanding, and solutions to shared problems. 

We are currently living in a time when many of us are afraid to communicate publicly or across disagreement about contentious topics, such as religion, sex and gender, race, and, perhaps most notably, the situation in Israel and Gaza. This fear is often justified, given, for example, the backlash to the recent Congressional testimony of the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT. 

At CEHV, our response to these challenging times has been to commit even more firmly to our mission: to build up our programming that addresses controversial issues rather than to shy away from them. 

On November 15, CEHV presented a workshop for 85 undergraduate students about how to have better dialogue about the situation in Israel and Gaza, and two more workshops on this topic are being planned for next semester. These workshops are being led by our Associate Director Aaron Yarmel, an expert in dialogue facilitation, and one of our undergraduate Civil Discourse Fellows, Mohamed Manaa. Our Civil Discourse Fellows program presented forums on the topics “Can Markets Solve Climate Change?”, and “Is Affirmative Action Just?”, this past semester; next semester, the program will foster thoughtful and informed conversations about prisons and public safety and the inclusion of transgender athletes in competitions.

We are always happy to meet with members of our campus community to learn about their goals for civil discourse and develop workshops in response to what they share. This past semester, we have worked with Ohio State University Physicians, Inc., the International Affairs Scholars Program, the STEP Program, Undergraduate Career Services and Education at the Fisher College of Business, Student Life, and Housing and Residence Education. 

We encourage you to reach out to Dr. Kathryn Joyce (CEHV Civil Discourse Program Director) or Dr. Aaron Yarmel (CEHV Associate Director and Dialogue Facilitator) for more information about our programming or to set up a meeting to discuss how we can serve your program, department, non-departmental unit, residence hall, etc.