Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are helping design and lead a project to encourage civil discourse dialogues on campus.
The UNL Peace and Civility Project was developed by the Office of Student Affairs with assistance from nearly 60 students, according to Nebraska Today, and builds on a program originally developed by Minnesota’s Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. According to the project’s website, the campaign is not intended to end all disagreements, but to remind UNL community members of basic principles of respect.
A workshop, roundtable discussions and a panel discussion featuring state senators are among the events that will be held across campus between Nov. 10 and Nov. 19, according to Nebraska Today.
The project has nine core values: apologize, be constructive, be inclusive, be open, don’t gossip, listen, pay attention, show respect and take responsibility, according to its website.
Richard Moberly, interim executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, told Nebraska Today that the UNL community will learn how to disagree, regardless of the topic, through the project.
“With 30,000 students, faculty and staff on campus, it’s inevitable that we won’t all agree,” he said. “If we can approach those with whom we disagree with a sense of humility, and if we can disagree respectfully, we may learn something ourselves.”
Moberly said disagreements should come from a place of good faith and understanding, so the person who has the disagreement can see the issue from the other person's point of view and expand their thinking.
“Our society [will] always have disagreements, but the way for us to solve real problems that are facing us as a society is to come together and think about solutions,” Moberly said. “If we can figure out a way to disagree in a way that furthers the conversation, I think we’ll make real progress.”