‘Critical Conversations’ speaker series on Auburn campus to examine intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas

Published: August 22, 2017
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Beginning fall 2017, Auburn University will welcome distinguished scholars, journalists and thought leaders to campus as part of the "Critical Conversations" speaker series–a forum to explore and discuss a full range of viewpoints and ideologies on topics such as inclusion, intellectual diversity and free speech in higher education.

Cornel West and Robert George, internationally recognized Ivy League professors, will be on campus Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. in the Student Center ballroom to share their insights as Auburn holds the first of its "Critical Conversations."

"Free speech is one of our nation’s founding principles," said Auburn President Steven Leath. "Engaging with national thinkers and speakers to explore all perspectives around civil discourse is key to informed decision-making, critical thinking and leadership. We’re excited to bring this opportunity to our students and the campus community."

Although West and George have widely differing political ideologies, they share a deeply held commitment to free speech. George, a conservative Catholic law professor at Princeton University, and West, a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America and professor at Harvard University, will share a public dialogue on the value of free speech and intellectual diversity in higher education.

"We are excited to welcome Cornel West and Robert George to our campus as we launch this important series," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Boosinger. "As our students and faculty navigate these topics in the classroom, they will have the opportunity to engage in ‘critical conversations’ outside of class as well."

As part of its overall goal of intellectual growth and preparing students for success in life, Auburn is committed to offering its students resources for exploring many perspectives so they are able to form opinions based on being fully informed.

"This speaker series is an opportunity for our campus to explore how shared values of free speech and civil discourse are demonstrated throughout our institution," said Taffye Benson Clayton, associate provost and vice president for Inclusion and Diversity. "By inviting highly respected thought leaders and scholars like Cornel West and Robert George, we are advancing the conversation by presenting diverse perspectives and offering opportunities for engaged dialogue. Following each speaker, students, faculty and staff will keep the conversation going through rich programming and course content."

For more information about the speaker series, go to http://aub.ie/CriticalConversations.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.