Last Thursday’s Dialogue on Affirmative Action certainly cannot be faulted for a lack of planning. The Black Students’ Union invited representatives from many campus organizations to attend a meeting to decide the topic and format for the dialogue before the event. Yet despite the good intentions and efforts of that group of planners, the dialogue itself turned into a virtual shouting match full of animosity and disrespect.Before the discussion began, guidelines for a productive dialogue were presented to help keep the conversation on track, open and respectful. The dialogue began well, with opening statements from each of the eight participants. The topics of these statements ranged from the value of free speech to the harms and benefits of affirmative action to the idea and importance of community. After the opening statements were finished, the panel opened up to comments and questions from the audience. It was at that point that discussion turned into accusations.Whatever opinions students and faculty may hold about affirmative action and the manner in which it was protested by the College Republicans and responded to by the campus community, there are substantial, reason-based arguments for every side. The dialogue was intended to be an opportunity to present these arguments in an informative, rational manner, and for all involved to leave with a greater understanding of different viewpoints and opinions. Instead, the atmosphere turned hostile. Accusations of racism, bigotry and prejudice were leveled at every side. Furthermore, the majority of panelists were overlooked and given no opportunity by the audience to speak. Several multifaceted issues were reduced to a two-sided, antagonistic debate that raised tempers instead of awareness.The label of dialogue, rather than debate, was deliberate. At a university, it should be possible to approach such a sensitive issue with open minds by all sides. While we cannot reasonably urge or expect students to come out of this or future dialogues with changed minds, we can appeal to them to strive for broader ones.



Recording shows University statement inaccurate about Gaza encampment meeting

The Campus Times obtained a recording of the April 24 meeting between Gaza solidarity encampment protesters and administrators. A look inside the discussions.

An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

Time unfortunately still a circle

Ever since the invention of the wheel, humanity’s been blessed with one terrible curse: the realization that all things are, in fact, cyclical.