Free Speech and Inclusion: How College Students Are Navigating Shifting Speech Norms
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Transforming Conflict on College Campuses Webinar Series

Apr 27, 2023 - Aug 10, 2023

Presented by Constructive Dialogue Institute and Aspen Institute's Citizenship and American Identity Program


Series Overview

Our hyper-polarized national climate has led many college and university leaders to experience an undercurrent of conflict on campuses, making it increasingly challenging to advance the mission of higher education. The Constructive Dialogue Institute (CDI) and The Aspen Institute's Citizenship and American Identity Program jointly conducted a research project, Transforming Conflict on College Campuses, to identify common sources of conflict and provide guidance for moving forward.

This webinar series aims to create a community dialogue to nurture a deeper understanding of the report's themes, principles, and ready-to-implement strategies and further illuminate ways the report can be used as a resource.

Who should attend? Higher education executive leaders, middle management administrators and staff, faculty leaders, and campus stakeholders interested in strategies to address conflict.

Sitting With Conflict: Redefining the goal of dialogue

Thursday, August 10, 3:00 - 4:00 pm ET

Engaging in dialogue doesn't always lead to a kumbaya outcome — and the expectation shouldn't be that it will. Building a culture of dialogue starts with changing how everyone on campus relates to conflict and each other; this means framing conflict as both normative and an important opportunity to learn and grow.

During this webinar, we'll present recommendations for higher ed leaders to shift this cultural mindset and hear from leaders adopting new approaches to transform their campuses. From small-scale and immersive to broad and campus-wide, we'll discuss a variety of student, staff, and faculty efforts. Participants will find out about the challenges and successes leaders encounter in doing this work and build on the lessons they've learned.


View the Recording

Past Webinars

Principles and Strategies to Transform Conflict on College Campuses

Thursday, April 27, 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET

How and why are conflicts boiling over on college campuses — and how can institutional leaders establish cultures of trust that enable the community to address tensions meaningfully when they arise? For the first installment of the series, we'll provide an overview of Transforming Conflict on College Campuses' methodology and findings and lead a panel discussion that engages research participants who can speak first-hand to difficulties that surface when confronting common modern-day challenges on campuses. Additionally, panelists will share viable approaches for fostering dialogue and creating better outcomes.


View the Recording

A Culture of Dialogue: How students can practice talking about things that matter

Wednesday, May 31, 2:30 - 3:30 pm ET

When it comes to fostering a culture of dialogue, where do you begin? How do you engage students in ways that strengthen their sense of belonging and open inquiry while lessening self-censorship and harmful discourse?

During this webinar, we’ll discuss the importance of talking about talking, creating low-stakes practice opportunities, and practical strategies for embedding dialogue skill development across campus. Hear from a panel of higher education stakeholders working in various campus settings to gain insight into what dialogue skill-building can look like in different environments.


  • Jinan Abufarha, recent Michigan University graduate and Campus Facilitator for the Intergroup Dialogues
  • Simon Greer, Founder of Bridging the Gap and the host of Courageous Conversation at TNP.US
  • Janelle Rae, Ed. D., MSW, Assistant Professor, Spalding University

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The Third Way: Navigating the tension between free speech and inclusion

Tuesday, June 27, 3:00 - 4:00 pm ET

In the national conversation, the tension between free speech and inclusion is often framed as an either/or. Many campus leaders are thus left with an impossible choice of prioritizing freedom of expression or an inclusive learning environment. But is there a third way?

During this webinar, we’ll discuss the ideological tension between free speech and inclusion and why a both/and framing is needed to help higher education get out of a false binary. Gain ideas and strategies from leaders in the higher ed space who are working to shape a different conversation about freedom of speech and inclusion and how those two ideals can be — and should be — advanced in unison.


  • Sigal Ben-Porath, Professor at UPenn & Author of Free Speech on Campus
  • Ronald A. Crutcher, President Emeritus and University Professor, University of Richmond; Senior Fellow, The Aspen Institute
  • Michelle Deutchman, Executive Director, UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement

View the Recording

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