This is great, but isn't the basis of this Persuasion club at the college just replicating what all college used to be and should be again? Can we fix what is broken with a free-speech club on each campus, or is it just a bit of a bandage on a festering wound?

"It is commonplace that students who are not white, especially first-generation Black and Hispanic students, feel out of place on college campuses."

Morgan Freeman, when asked by Don Lemon, what he thought we should do to improve race relations in this country said: "Stop talking about it. Stop calling me and you a black man."

It is commonplace for many students of all races, genders, etc., to feel out of place on college campuses. Personality, economics, social skills, familiarity with the dominant cultural behavior... the list goes on. I think the author here makes the mistake that feeds the beast that required a special club to slay... referring to people as belonging to a group other than the group that is the human race.

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Very interesting and very nice to read about someone doing something about the problem. I have two simple questions: What keeps canceling from happening outside the club based on what is said inside? I.e. do use use Chatham House Rules? Or ?? Second, this seems like a great start, but like it won't do much unless there's a way for it to grow; do you have ideas for how it can grow?

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>>> There are a lotta good aspects to this club:

"No one was expected to speak on behalf of their 'group,' however defined."

"Secondly, students have to feel empowered to dig fearlessly into the difficulties, inconsistencies, contradictions, and tensions inherent in any issue."

>>> Great exercise.

"... no one demeaned anyone else as a bad person for the views they expressed, however contentious."

"Instead, students appeared to learn from those whose views differed from their own, and they evinced not merely mutual respect but mutual affection."

>>> Good moves.

“'students are actually much more politically heterogeneous than the faculty or (especially) university admin.' And yet, whatever their inherent diversity, students are good at reading signals from faculty and administrators—and from a few vocal peers—as to what views they may acceptably express. If those of us in higher education want to make our campuses places where all students can feel free to be themselves, in all their viewpoint diversity, we should strive to create a college culture in which they are empowered to express themselves."

>>> I'm glad, but not totally surprised, that students are more politically heterogeneous.

>>> I found a couple of, what are to me, questionable theories:

"Entering a meeting, one is affirmed to be no more and no less than a fully formed human being, legitimate and worthy in one’s own right, and possessed of a voice no less valuable than that of any other."

>>> This is factually incorrect. The brain isn't fully formed until mid-20s, right? Yeah, everyone is legitimate and worthy. But all views are not, in actual fact, equally valuable. How could they be?

Some views are based more on reality and some less. It's mathematically impossible for it to be otherwise. Yeah, I get it. You want everybody to feel comfortable to express their views. IMO, what should be encouraged is the minority views that one is likely to never hear about. The rest will be more than glad to express their views. Which are more valuable is in the eye of the beholder anyway, right? The *people* are no less valuable and should be heard with the greatest *attention.* The "voices?" Not so equally valuable.

"... many professors and students want not merely to create knowledge through research and to transmit it and learn it in classrooms, but also to leave the world a better place than they found it by resolving inequities, mitigating oppression, and so on. To have any hope of accomplishing such ambitious goals ..."

>>> Lemme give a little advice. Get off Your high horses. Yeah, most *everybody* wants "to leave the world in a better place." But those people who think their job is to actually change the *world?* That's probably what You were told when You grew up. Or You accreted the delusion. Either way, the only thing a person actually *can* change is themselves. Sorry. Mebbe that's common knowledge. Mebbe not.

>>> Most people find it easier to try to change someone else to believe what they believe. Good for self-validation, if You need that kind-a thing. But that'd first of all mean what You believe has a value over what other people believe. That comes from having a lot more experience than Your years in a university.

>>> The harder, and more valuable thing, is to open Your *own* mind. Accept what's right in the views You disagree with. Try that for a couple decades or more, is my advice.

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Check out Keri Smith's Youtube channel - "Deprogrammed" https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/deprogrammed

Smith was programmed from her campus experience to be a social justice warrior. But she discovered it was a cult and escaped.

"Smith said she first encountered social-justice theories in the late ’90s when she was a biological anthropology and anatomy major, with a minor in women’s studies, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, when most people hadn’t heard of critical race theory.

She also worked with Amnesty International, the international nongovernmental human rights organization, which held a seminar on “dismantling racism,” she said."

“It wasn’t a fast process,” she said. “It was just as slow as it was getting into a cult. That’s how slow it is getting out of a cult.”

"“What they [the wokeists] are afraid of is real,” she said. “They are afraid of losing their friends, their jobs, their good name, their families, and their sense of security. All of these are very real things to be afraid of losing.”

But eventually one must realize there’s more to be afraid of if one doesn’t speak up, she said.

“If people don’t speak up in the early stages of an authoritarian belief system, an evil belief system—and I do call it evil—there’s going to come a time when you’re not allowed to speak at all,” she said."

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I sincerely hope you young folks can start up intelligent conversations and allow for expression of different points of view as we move into the future. I have just removed myself from 3 different medical news and opinion forums because multiple comments were rejected, none were mean-spirited, vulgar or hateful. It makes me wonder why these sites even allow any comments at all, if they are only going to allow ones that agree with a certain agenda.

Keep up the good work and long live free speech!

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The reality is that America (including academia) is hopelessly intolerant. On how many college campuses could you say "Will Thomas is a man and doesn't belong on the UPenn woman's swim team"? That answer is roughly zero. Save for Fox news, how many media outlets would allow such a statement to be uttered? A majority of Americans might agree with the statement. So what? The NYT and the WaPo are adamant that Will Thomas is really a woman and that's what counts.

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I am curious to know what the ground rules of the meeting were, assuming there were some? For example, was their limitation in how long each individual could speak?

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I'm curious to know what were the ground rules that made these meetings successful, assuming there were some, and how was the moderation handled? For example, was there a limitation in how long each individual could talk?

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