No winners or losers. Just earnest, respectful, and insightful debate.
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
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 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’ wraps up with in-depth look at Flint water crisis
UBNow - Hernandez, Oct. 31, 2016
‘Tumultuous’ election takes center stage at ‘DifCon’ event
UBNow - Anzalone, Oct. 28, 2016
‘DifCon’ tackles academic freedom, inclusion
UBNow - Hill, Oct. 27, 2016
‘DifCon’ series tackles Orlando nightclub mass shooting
UBNow - Potter, Oct. 26, 2016
Issues surrounding police shootings lead off ‘DifCon’ series
UBNow - Andrei, Oct. 25, 2016
Series to Explore Issues That have Sparked Protest Across the U.S.
UBNow - Della Contrada, Oct. 17, 2016
UB DIFCON Series Allows Students, Faculty and Staff to Discuss Difficult Social Issues
Spectrum - Corra, Oct. 24, 2016
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.
Professor Hakala (South Asian Languages/Literature) speaks with students about teaching Islam as an outsider