Fostering Productive Dialogue
Fostering Productive Dialogue

Fostering Productive Dialogue


A bedrock of premier universities and campus life is participating in productive dialogue while fostering understanding and empathy for one another. As we consider the teaching and research mission of our university and the importance of having difficult conversations to advance this mission, we are launching more programming and resources to help foster productive understanding, communication, and dialogue among members of our community.




Educational Programming

The university is continuing to provide educational programming for all incoming students. First introduced as part of new student orientation at the start of the 2023-24 academic year, GW has a session that explores salient topics impacting the university community, including antisemitism, Islamophobia, and the challenges of navigating the politics of Israel/Palestine on campus. Students also learn about university policies and reporting options for bias, discrimination, and harassment.

This semester, the university will also host an educational series focused on navigating the complexities of university life in contested times. Topics include: communication in challenging times, navigating conflict, student conduct, restoration and repair. Sessions will be led by a variety of university offices and partners. 

On February 21, The School of Media and Public Affairs' Sesno Series hosted an event entitled "Disagree Better: How Politicians, the Public and the Press Can Turn Down the Heat," featuring Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox. This session, presented in association with the Graduate School of Political Management, explored how to bring healthy conflict that leads to solutions back to politics and the public square. 




Free Speech Discussions and Resources

 Recognizing the complexities of free speech in challenging or divisive times, we will undertake programming that is intended to foster greater understanding and informed discussions regarding our community rights and responsibilities in fostering free speech in our community environment. 

As part of these efforts, GW Law organized a panel discussion on Feb. 12 with legal experts to explore the intersections of speech, community, and college campuses. 

Additional information about this event and other free speech events will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

The university has also launched a resource page with information and FAQs regarding free speech at GW.

Free Expression at GW






Classroom Dialogue and Debate

Difficult and occasionally uncomfortable conversations are a hallmark of a rigorous academic environment, but our classrooms also must feel welcoming and inclusive to all. GW remains fully committed to supporting academic freedom for our students and faculty. However, we recognize the tension that exists between free expression and inclusivity and have heard feedback from our community about concerns or difficulties in navigating this space. 

This semester, under the leadership of the Provost’s Office and Division for Student Affairs, the university will convene conversations among faculty, as well as students, about classroom discussions on difficult topics. This is the beginning of a process to learn more from faculty and students about their expectations of what it looks like to teach and learn in a world-class academic environment.




Ninth Annual Diversity Summit 

In February, the university hosted its 9th Annual Diversity Summit, led by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. While planning for this year’s summit had been underway since summer 2023, global developments made the summit and the conversations convened uniquely relevant. 

Organizers incorporated additional voices in the summit’s programming. Most notably, the university added an opening session presented by Interfaith America, an organization that emphasizes religious diversity and its benefits, on the "Promise of Pluralism."