I am writing these comments concerning recent events, discussions, conversations and web postings as an employee of Emory & Henry College, but they do not necessarily represent the College’s stance on these matters.
When I was being interviewed for my job here at the College I spoke about my intention to encourage the concept of building a scholarly community of considerate conversations. Considerate conversations are those in which participants choose to consider the viewpoint of others, in a considerate manner.
Following recent events in our country as well as some on campus I have been saddened and discouraged by the tone of Facebook postings related to these matters. I sincerely hope that the vitriolic tone of some of the postings are not interpreted by people outside our community as the way we handle all considerate conversations concerning important and controversial matters at Emory & Henry College.
Tone and courtesy toward others are the hallmarks of a considerate conversation. We cannot be seen as a great liberal arts college if our tone is not tempered with respect for others and with an understanding that words that diminish others also diminish those who speak them.
To be clear, considerate conversations, as difficult as they might be, always consider the viewpoint of another and are always done in a considerate way. This is what a liberal arts education encourages and values.
By adhering to high standards of civility in our discourse and debate we have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of America and for our leaders in Washington, an example that demonstrates that we can disagree with one another but in the end respect – and even care deeply for – those with whom we disagree.
I urge all in the Emory & Henry Community who value considerate conversations to join me in encouraging others to do the same. At the same time, I ask members of the E&H Facebook community to answer this question, “What are you willing to do to help promote consideration and civility both within our community and beyond?”
Jake B. Schrum