Additional DIFCON Events

Spring 2017 DIFCON

Owning Our Differences

No winners or losers.  Just earnest, respectful, and insightful debate.

DIFCON: Owning Our Differences.

DIFCON: Owning Our Differences

In an increasingly polarized political climate, students need the skills to navigate social and professional relationships across differences.  Indeed, the recent presidential election results sensitized many to the reality that dissension exists even within settled social and professional circles to an extent that has been drastically underestimated.  Now, more than ever, we feel the need on campuses across the nation for healthy, robust discussions with people who hold beliefs that may differ from our own.

The Spring 2017 DIFCON Series was designed to increase our capacity to negotiate deeply held beliefs and values across a terrain in which those values are contested, and perhaps even rejected by others.  In a weeklong series of mid-day panels, UB students, faculty and staff were challenged to own the differences that exist within the UB Community.  On five consecutive days, April 17-21, 2017, five different panels considered five different value propositions from opposing standpoints, encouraging audience participation and respectful disagreement.   

Monday, April 17
Sponsor: Intercultural and Diversity Center
Heritage Month celebrations (e.g., Black History, Women’s History, Hispanic Heritage, Native American Heritage) are essential to an inclusive, culturally competent university community here at UB.Campus

Tuesday, April 18
Sponsor: Athletics
Student athletes are free to express their political beliefs both on and off the field.

Wednesday, April 19 104 O’Brian Hall, 12:00pm-1:30pm
Sponsored: Law School 
Hate speech is fundamentally incompatible with an inclusive campus climate.

Thursday, April 20 
Sponsor: Libraries and the Dept. of History
Statues, flags, and other icons that serve as reminders of historical legacies of injustice should be removed from college and university campuses.

Friday, April 21
Sponsor: Student Conduct and Advocacy and Wellness Education Services
Campus judicial systems effectively balance the interests of both those who report sexual assault and those who are accused of it.

Fall 2016 DIFCON

Our Cities. Our Issues.

DIFCON: Our Cities. Our Issues.

Fall 2016 DIFCON: Our Cities. Our Issues focused on recent events that have sparked civil unrest and protest across the nation. Water quality. Gun violence. Political polarization. Three panelists set the stage for audience engagement by sharing their expertise and insights. The goal of the discussion is to engage a diverse audience in constructive conversations about provocative issues that affect us as a community.

"DIFCON: Our Cities. Our Issues." Participants speaking about lead threat in Flint and Buffalo? Oct. 28, 2016.

"DIFCON: Our Cities. Our Issues." Participants speaking about lead threat in Flint and Buffalo? Oct. 28, 2016.

Spring 2016 DIFCON

Never Comfortable, Always Safe

At a time when differences are polarizing the nation, we at UB have the opportunity to come together to as a community to face “head on” issues that threaten to divide us.  This semester, UB students piloted this effort. They engaged in twelve difficult conversations facilitated by faculty members.

UB Now DIFCON Series, Wuetcher

UB Now Lessons Learned, Andrei

UB Now Lessons Learned, Wuetcher

The Spectrum, Williams

  • February 29: Jason Young, history, “Why the Backlash Against #BlackLivesMatter?,”
  • March 2 Walter Hakala: South Asian Languages & Literature, “Teaching Islam from an Outsider's Perspective,”
  • March 7: Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, Management, “What Does Diversity Mean to You?,”
  • March 9: Carl Nightingale, Transnational Studies, “Going to School in a Segregated City,”
  • March 21: Rebecca French, Law, “Off to College, But How do you Pack up your Religion?”
  • March 23: Raechele Pope and Nathan Daun-Barnett, Educational Leadership & Policy, “Race and Privilege on Campus,”
  • March 28: John Jennings, Art, “Disturbing the Peace: The Black Artist and Public Discourse,”
  • March 30: Cynthia Wu, associate professor, Transnational Studies, “The Myth of the Asian American Model Minority,”
  • April 4: Amy Bisantz, Industrial & Systems Engineering, “Why aren’t there More Women in STEM Fields?”
  • April 6: Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, Geography, “Contemporary Ethnic Geographies in America and Spaces of Fear,”
  • April 11: Teresa Miller, Equity & Inclusion/Law and Andrew Stott, Undergraduate Education/English, “Unpacking and Negotiating Privilege,”
  • April 13: Amy Reynolds, Counseling, School & Educational Psychology, and Sharon Mitchell, Counseling Services, “Why are Difficult Conversations so Difficult?”
  • May 2: All facilitators, “DIFCON12: Lessons Learned” 

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