Healthy Debate

The Gaudino Fund and Phi Beta Kappa have repeatedly partnered to help the College community engage with each other about what we think and know, and to foster broad yet passionate conversation focused on why differing points of view actually matter and how they can cultivate camaraderie in the community.

Between 2015 and 2018, in a series of events also co-sponsored by the Offices of the President and the Dean of Faculty, students, faculty and staff were invited to collaborate in small-group conversations on such questions as: “What is the United States’ responsibility, if any, in regard to the Syrian refugee crisis?”; “Is Colin Kaepernick’s protest (kneeling during national anthem) anti-American?”; and, “What are our obligations as citizens?”

In a similar effort to promote healthy debate, the Gaudino Fund co-sponsored a talk organized by the student Debate Union as a counterpoint to a campus visit by social scientist Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve and other controversial writings. Dr. Joseph Graves, who holds a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, and Murray spoke back-to-back on the same evening; the talks were scheduled to empower students to critically analyze controversial ideas.