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KSRE Tuesday Letter

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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

February 28, 2017

Save the date: Symposium for engagement and Civility April 10-14 at K-State

Submitted by David E. Procter

Kansas State University will celebrate its value of civility with Championing Civility Week, April 10-14.

The week, which coincides with World Civility Day on April 13, will include several programs and dialogue opportunities at K-State. The highlight will be the full-day symposium, "Re-Constructing Civility: Modes of Engagement for 2017," starting at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 11, at the K-State Student Union. The symposium is free and all are welcome. It is sponsored by K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy.

A study just released confirms what many of us sadly believe, that the American political culture is significantly uncivil. The seventh annual Civility in America poll found that 79 percent of Americans believe the 2016 U.S. presidential election was uncivil; 69 percent believe the U.S. has a major civility problem; and 75 percent of us now believe that incivility in America is a crisis.

Unfortunately, these findings aren't surprising considering the tone and tenor of the 2016 election cycle. The real issue is what are we, the American people and the K-State community, going to do to turn this disturbing trend around?

"Re-Constructing Civility: Modes of Public Engagement for 2017" is the appropriate time for there to be a discussion — both academic and practical — regarding issues such as what is civility, what are different models of civil dialogue, how can we hold civil discussions in our classrooms, and what are some exemplars on this campus of civil dialogue used in the service of addressing salient issues.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers. The morning kickoff keynote will be Ed O'Malley, president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, will be our afternoon keynoter. We also will feature scholarly presentations and deliberation demonstrations around such issues as race, religion and culture; juvenile justice; and reducing community violence and campus safety.

We are seeking additional symposium presenters as well as events from colleges, departments and student groups to be added to the Championing Civility Week calendar. Potential presenters and event information can be submitted to Chandra Ruthstrom, chandra@k-state.edu.

We welcome students, faculty, staff and members of the public to register for the symposium at http://www.k-state.edu/cecd/events/civility/symposium/.

I'm excited that the K-State community is rallying around the concept of civility - a value our nation needs. Hope to see you on April 11.