In recent years college campuses across the country have struggled with two intersecting issues: inclusivity and free speech. Among the most difficult situations that present such challenges are bias/hate-motivated incidents that disrupt an entire community. The incidents that raise these issues present college communities with serious questions:

  • What are the best ways for colleges to respond immediately to support students, faculty, and staff who may be affected both directly and indirectly?
  • In the aftermath of a potential bias/hate-motivated incident, how can communities better understand the significance and circumstances of the incident?
  • How should a college respond when an incident prompts advocacy organizations of various perspectives to become engaged in the aftermath of the incident?
  • What are the perspectives and roles taken on by institutions and leaders as they respond to an incident, especially when competing principles are in play? How best can colleges navigate actions to promote inclusivity while observing free speech principles?
  • How do individuals with multiple professional, civic, and social roles navigate emotion and intellect to best serve the individuals directly affected by the incident, the institutions involved, and the long-term well-being of the community?

To better understand the complex issues at the intersection of principles of inclusivity and free speech, Grinnell College will conduct an incident simulation with a panel of key campus and community members. It is a role-playing exercise to help our community learn.

  • Day: November 28, 2017
  • Time: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Place: Sebring Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
  • Moderator: Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94
  • Refreshments provided

The entire Grinnell community is invited to attend this educational exercise, which will present a unique opportunity to examine a situation in the absence of the glare of public scrutiny and the understandably intense emotion that are typically present in a real-life incident. The discussion will be loosely modeled on the award-winning Fred Friendly Seminars that appeared on public television between 1984 and 2009.

Using a case-based approach with the Socratic teaching method often used in law schools, moderator Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94, Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, will engage a panel of participants who will assume hypothetical roles in the simulation. Participants will react in real time with the opportunity to explain openly and objectively their reasoning and approach — an opportunity that is rarely available amid a real incident. With prompting from Professor Onwuachi-Willig, panelists will discuss how and why they might respond to a fictional incident in a fictional college community. The program will consist of a one-hour role play with Professor Onwuachi-Willig and the panelists, followed by 30 minutes of Q & A from the audience.

Below are panel members who are scheduled to participate in the simulation. Please note that participants are listed with their actual titles. 

  • Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94 (Moderator), Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Andrea Conner, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Grinnell College
  • Morgane Garnier ’19, 2016 Rosenfield Program Intern, Center for Constitutional Rights (2016), Grinnell College
  • Frank Harty, Legal Counsel for Grinnell College
  • Alice Herman ’18, Scarlet and Black News Editor
  • Lakesia Johnson, Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Vice President, and Associate Professor, Grinnell College
  • Raynard S. Kington, President, Grinnell College
  • Mike Latham, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Grinnell College
  • Debra Lukehart, Vice President for Communications, Grinnell College
  • Dennis Reilly, Chief of Police, City of Grinnell
  • Henry Reitz ‘89, Chair of Faculty and Professor, Grinnell College
  • Kathleen Richardson, Dean of the School of Journalism, Drake University, and former Editor, Des Moines Register
  • James Shropshire, Director of Campus Safety, Grinnell College
  • Mark Stringer, Executive Director, ACLU of Iowa
  • Summer White ‘18, President, Student Government Association, Grinnell College

Presented by the Office of the President, Grinnell College.

Helpful resources

American Civil Liberties Union — Free Speech

U.S. Department of Justice — Avoiding Racial Conflict: A Guide for Municipalities

Southern Poverty Law Center/Teaching Tolerance — Strategies for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Prejudice: Essential Principles

University of Chicago — Report of the Committee on Free Expression

More informational resources related to today’s subject matter will be available in the lobby.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

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