Since retiring two years ago after sixteen years as president of Drake University, I have had many conversations with college and university presidents regarding the vast array of challenges that they and their institutions are facing. But in recent months, one set of issues has risen to the top of nearly everyone’s list: campus climate, inclusivity, free speech, and civil discourse. As reflected in the higher education media (and, increasingly, the popular press), hardly a week goes by in which some institution’s commitment to these core values is not challenged—often in very troubling and sometimes violent ways. Clearly, there are currents on our campuses—exacerbated by the devastatingly toxic nature of public discourse—that we are struggling to navigate. While there are no easy solutions to these issues, my experience at Drake University suggests at least one approach that may produce a more productive outcome when the inevitable conflicts of ideas and perspectives arise.
Maxwell, D. (2017). This Is Who We Say We Are. Diversity and Democracy, Spring/Summer 2017, Vol. 20.
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