Free speech and civil discourse were treated to a full airing at UW-Stout this week with the successful series of forums sponsored by the Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation during its annual Free Speech Week.
I had the privilege of moderating a very interesting, and lively, panel that included a former biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., Bret Weinstein, who challenged a day of racial segregation and faced backlash, including having to hold classes off campus because university police could not guarantee his safety. The other panelists were Damon Sajnani, of UW-Madison African Cultural Studies, and John Sharpless, co-director of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at UW-Madison.
Student Free Speech in the UW was another topic on Tuesday at a panel that included Jim Manley, senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute, co-author of a model policy used by the regents; Coltan Schoenike, who is studying for a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at UW-Stout and opposed the policy’s adoption; and Casey Mattox, senior fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, who influences free speech policy and practice at a think tank. Doug Mell, UW-Stout executive director of University Communications and External Relations, moderated the session.
Other session topics included Debating Hate Speech and the First Amendment; and Free Speech and Originalist Jurisprudence.
I want to commend the center and director Timothy Shiell for excellent Free Speech Week activities and showing everyone that civil discourse about weighty and controversial issues is still possible in our society and on our campus.
Price Commons renovations impressive
I toured the renovations underway at Merle M. Price Commons, and they were very impressive. The first floor is being completely redone, including a new layout and an updated look to better serve our students and staff.
The work, which began in May and is expected to be completed in December 2019, includes upgrading the fire suppression, mechanical and electrical systems; renovating all four main entrances and patio; adding new exterior windows and sills; and remodeling offices and areas including SLS Tech, University Dining Administration, the Qube, Mini-Mart, and the Glass Lounge.
Price Commons is open during the renovations, which is important because the main dining hall, renovated previously, is on the second floor.
I want to thank Malinda Hebert, Student Centers assistant director, and our Facilities Management staff for arranging the tour. I look forward to another tour when the project is completed. More information on the renovation is available here.
Please attend Cabot Executive in Residence address
I also want to encourage everyone to attend the 2018 Cabot Executive in Residence address from 10:10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the student center ballrooms. The address is by Denise Coogan, of Subaru of America.
Coogan, a champion of sustainability, women’s leadership and cultural sensitivity, also will be engaging with faculty, staff and students in numerous activities, classes and meetings from Tuesday through Thursday.
Faculty are encouraged to invite students to participate.