Shepherd University students explore ways to bring civility to political and cultural discourse

West Virginia

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — As if the elections across the U.S this month don’t prove the point, we are a nation divided. Some Shepherd University students are hard at work to bridge that divide.

They are conducting a seminar on what divides us. Broadening our perspectives, they say, can help find common ground.

Says student Adelaine Heartsong, “As a country, we don’t compromise anymore and we need to get back to civility and the art of compromise and finding common ground.”

And what to do about it?

According to Roxana Anzardo, another Shepherd University student, “in this country right now we have a lot of polarization, a lot of different political views and people are very angry at each other. They’re not accepting of each other’s political views, to be exact. And I think people need to learn how to interact more with each other.”

And that is not necessarily a comfortable process.

Just as Issaka Goita, also a Shepherd University student. “People have to be comfortable hearing views they may disagree with. Even though it goes against their values or beliefs they may need to hear it just because it’s another perspective. And they can learn from that.”

From the viewpoint of seminar professor John Unger at Shepherd, “we have to talk to each other in a civil manner and really uphold what George Washington said in his farewell address, that ‘the only thing that is really going to destroy our country is the division within ourselves.'”

The advice of these Shepherd students is to be open-minded, reach out and bridge the ideological divide. Professor Unger and the Shepherd students say that embracing diversity and promoting inclusion can lead to meaningful dialogues across cultural lines.

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