A student’s eye on recent campus presentations:

November 12, 2015

John Hockenberry visits Saint Michael’s

American journalist and author John Hockenberry, a three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy winner and current host of radio program “The Takeaway,” visited Saint Michael’s College Wednesday, November 4 to discuss climate change.

He opened by mentioning what a “beautiful fall day it was, a sign of exactly what we’re here to talk about.” During his talk, entitled “Climate of Doubt,”  Hockenberry discussed the decline of the climate change debate, which sparked dialogue within the government after Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and was a big topic during the 2008 presidential election, but has since received much less attention.

Additionally, Hockenberry talked about his experience as a journalist and, as a self-proclaimed “classical, scholarly, literary dweeb,” wove many humorous aspects into the serious topic of discussion,  such as getting in trouble for the horrible haircut he got right before a big interview on air.

This event was part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s “First Wednesdays,” and therefore was attended largely by members of the outside community in addition to students, faculty and staff from the college. Afterwards, Hockenberry took questions from the audience.

Panel encourages community debate surrounding hate speech

After flyers that spoke negatively of Islam were posted throughout campus in late September by someone not affiliated with Saint Michael’s College, members of the Saint Michael’s and University of Vermont community joined together to hold a panel discussion surrounding the issue of hate speech to make it clear that it will not be tolerated.

The event, located in the Farrell Room on November 3, was so largely attended by members of the Saint Michael’s community as well as some students from the University of Vermont (who had the same flyers posted on their campus) that audience members spread into the hallway.

Panelists included  Dr. Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, assistant professor of religion at the University of Vermont; George Dameron, professor and chair of the history department at Saint Michael’s College; and five Saint Michael’s students: Jack Loomis ’16, Stevie Cunningham-Darrah ’16, Megan Ackerman ’16, Daniel Plotzer ’16 and Ruba Orfali ’16. Sajida Jalalzai, a religious studies professor, moderated the panel.

These panelists discussed examples throughout history of demonization of the “other,” the need to be educated because fear comes from the unknown, and the fact that Saint Michael’s will not allow hate on campus. “We should all be accepting of each other’s differences – we’re all human,” said Orfali, who acknowledged that this panel might not have happened at other colleges.

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