Brexit architect Nigel Farage, left, and former Mexican President Vincente Fox debate nationalism versus globalism on campus April 2. Photo by Casey A. Cass / University of Colorado Boulder.
I’m proud of the great diversity of speakers our students and faculty brought to campus this year.
Ann Coulter, Anderson Cooper, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale and Academy Award-winning performance artist Common spoke to our students this spring. Brexit architect Nigel Farage and former Mexican President Vincente Fox also visited campus to debate nationalism versus globalism.
These opportunities expose students to viewpoints and perspectives that may differ from their own, while encouraging civil discourse and informed discussion.
Researcher Brené Brown was on campus to tell students about leadership, empathy, being inclusive and expanding perception.
The 70th Conference on World Affairs this month featured 100 speakers offering broad dialogue on issues and events currently shaping our world, including Gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman, one of the leading voices of the #MeToo movement.
Some speakers on campus over the last 12 to 18 months have been controversial, even offensive to some. The fundamental role of a university is to be a place where you can listen to speakers you support or oppose, and then make up your mind on what you believe. Doing so sharpens intellects and broadens perspectives, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Free speech on campus has been on the minds of colleges and universities across the country. Earlier this month, presidents and chancellors of the Association of American Universities, on whose board of directors I serve, reaffirmed that the free and open exchange of ideas is fundamental to our educational mission.
While protecting the expression of ideas, we also take steps to promote an inclusive and non-discriminatory learning environment and protect our community from those who seek to promote conflict rather than conversation and debate.
Through these public forums we aspire to be a model for how a democratic society should work through its disagreements and arrive at a deeper understanding of issues, and of each other.
Making a diversity of viewpoints available to all students should be at the core of what we do as a public university.