For the second year in a row, Boise State University will host a civility symposium. This year’s symposium takes place March 14 with events in both the Hatch and Simplot ballrooms of the Student Union Building.
This year’s event has a strong emphasis on civic literacy, said symposium organizer Justin Vaughn. “In this current era where fake news not only proliferates but is increasingly difficult for citizens to discern from more accurate information, it is essential to reflect on what kinds of information and skills Americans need not only to tell the real from the fake but also to be effective citizens.”
Boise State University’s Center for Idaho History and Politics is collaborating with multiple partners, including the Idaho Statesman, Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Humanities Council, Boise School District, and the City Club of Boise. At noon, Boise State will host a City Club forum titled “Beyond Civility,” which will feature City Club president William Newmann, past president Bill Manny, and former Gem County Commissioner Michelle Chadwick. Those interested in attending this session can register with the City Club. There is a cost associated for the lunch, but the rest of the day’s events are free and open to the public.
In the evening, there will be a screening of a new public television documentary titled “American Creed,” followed by a moderated discussion with Joan Blades, who is featured in the film and is also the founder of Living Room Conversations, a non-profit organization founded in 2010 as a result of a trans-partisan partnership focused on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation.
In addition to those collaborative events, this year’s symposium features two keynote addresses and a pair of expert panels. Keynote speakers include Adam Davis, the executive director of Oregon Humanities, who will speak on the topic of talking across differences, and Mike Baker, founding partner of Diligence LLC, who will talk about the media in our current polarized moment. Panels will focus on civility as it intersects with both civic literacy and free speech. Faculty from across the university are involved in these panels, including professors Seth Ashley, Jessica Roberts, Jen Schneider, Sara Fry, Elizabeth Ramsey, Steve Utych and Martin Orr, who is also president of the American Federation of Teachers Local No. 3537; Corey Cook, dean of the School of Public Service; Shawn Miller, associate vice president of human resources; Brandon Rasmussen, editor-in-chief of the Arbiter and Anne Helen Petersen from Buzzfeed are also appearing on panels.