Perhaps more than anything, Americans need to learn to talk to one another again.
We are becoming a nation at odds with its political and social traditions—traditions of intense interest in ideas, in conversation, in listening and debating, and in sustaining arguments that persuade and move people. Our nation was founded in argument. Our colleges and universities are places dedicated to free inquiry and free expression. We are obligated both to uphold these principles and to bring into the discussion more people for whom access to the public square has been limited. Equality of access is essential for freedom of expression to find its highest purpose. In the fall of 2017, faculty launched “Critical Conversations: Advancing a culture of freedom and inclusivity.”
Critical Conversations is now run with student input by the Office of Academic Affairs and is designed to bring together and focus the attention of the Middlebury College community on pressing issues of public interest, including the question of free expression and inclusivity in higher education and society at large. During this academic year, Middlebury will host many events that we hope will spur discussion and debate. Some of these are the types of events seen on campus every year. Others are being produced this year expressly to fulfill this commitment. Through Critical Conversations, we hope to create a truly robust and inclusive public sphere at Middlebury that encourages engagement with ideas and issues that are important to our times and to our mission as an institution of higher education.
HOW TO ENGAGE
Plan a Community Event
Critical Conversations belongs to the community. Send us your ideas, proposals, and comments.Get Started
Recent Books of Note
Several newly published books take a fresh look at the issue of free speech on college and university campuses and offer suggestions for moving forward.See Resources