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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Free Speech and Civil Discourse

In the Center’s Framework for Ethical Decision Making, the first step is: Get the facts. Understanding an issue is at the heart of any process for considering the right thing to do, and central to that is dialogue. In 2017-18, the Center spearheaded a university-wide effort to promote dialogue through events and programs on “Free Speech and Civil Discourse.” Four of the Center’s Hackworth Fellows worked on the effort. Here, Maria Lutgarda Glorioso (SCU ’18) reflects on an event the fellows moderated with comedian W. Kamau Bell:

Maria Lutgarda Glorioso

“You can’t simply walk into a conversation and expect civil discourse to happen. You will be uncomfortable. They will be uncomfortable. You will stumble, trip, and fall, and that’s okay. You will learn. Kamau Bell claimed he wasn’t born funny. He learned to be the way he is from his life experiences. Similarly, your experiences will culminate to better prepare you to handle difficult conversations in a civil way.”

Maria Lutgarda Glorioso, Hackworth Fellow


Programs on Free Speech, Civil Discourse, and Dialogue

Speeches and Presentations

Free Speech on Campus
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Berkeley Law

Conversation in the Jesuit Tradition: Reflections for a Time of Broken Discourse
Mark Ravizza, S.J., Associate Professor, SCU Philosophy Department

Free Speech at Santa Clara University: Should the Campus Policy Change?
Lawrence Nelson, Associate Professor, SCU Philosophy Department

Free Speech and the University Under Assault
Nicholas Dirks, Former UC Berkeley Chancellor

Bridging the Political Divide: Listening to Trump’s America
Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor

Ethics Standards and the President
Richard Painter, Former Chief White House Ethics Lawyer

Listening to the Stories We Don’t Know: The Power of Dialogue About Race Beverly
Daniel Tatum, Former President, Spellman College

Student Programs

Other Activities

  • Work with the city of Woodside on civil discourse and creating a code of ethics
  • Web Resources on free speech and civil discourse