From FSU Professor of Mathematics Alec Kercheval:
I agree with this quote I just read from Sept 13 [“The biggest issue with FSU’s presidential search: Can FSU’s faculty rebuild its sense of community after the search is over?”]:
“In such a situation, all of us need to examine ourselves and our community and to make changes in the way we discuss and debate issues. There is no excuse for social intimidation at a university.”
But I’d go a step further. Plenty of folks have no hesitation in saying what they think, whether in a blog post, an online comment, a senate resolution, or a guest column in the paper. We actually have little shortage of people speaking their opinions. That’s not enough. What we lack is the habit of discussion — back and forth conversation testing the reasons for our positions. As distinct from taking turns making speeches.
The art of dialog goes back to Plato, and we’re not practicing it nearly enough. Not in the faculty meetings, not in the lunch room. The lecture, we have down pretty well.