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Petition started to remove Elder Holland as the commencement speaker


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19 hours ago, bluebell said:

... It [hearing from young people who, perhaps, are not much wiser than their listeners at commencement] also runs the risk of becoming an echo-chamber moment.  And echo chambers don’t have much value when it comes to learning and gaining knowledge (which is supposed to be at the whole point of college).

While I say this as someone who knows how much words could hurt, who's had epithets directed at me that should appall any reasonable, well-adjusted 20th-century listener (let alone anyone hearing such things in the 21st century), it seems to me that campus has become (and is becoming) less about the free and open exchange of ideas than it is about providing "safe spaces," characteristic-specific dorms, an "echo chamber" where what we already believe (which, self-evidently, is "right" or "correct" and, therefore, is above evaluation, criticism, or challenge) shouting down and hounding off of campus  anyone we believe has the "wrong" ideas, and so on.

As many times as I told myself, on many days when I went home from school as a young person, "That's it.  I'm done.  There's no way I'm going back" (and bear in mind that I was subjected to much more than mere mildly-teasing words, including taunting and, in some cases outright bullying), intuitively, also, I knew (though I lacked the ability to put this thought in precisely these words at the time) that if I didn't go back, that would mean that my detractors and my tormentors had won ... and under no circumstances was I going to let them win.

I wonder, how much of a service are we doing our young people if we try to spare them, not only from macro-aggressions, but even from micro-aggressions, and not only from micro-aggressions, but from any sort of conflict whatsoever, and even from people who are (Gasp!) different from us in some way, who might think differently than we do, and so on, potentially ad infinitum? While I do think that people ought to be Christlike, the fact is that unless we exercise our own agency to make that choice for ourselves, it isn't likely to make any sort of genuine, lasting change.  (And wasn't essentially forcing people to behave in a certain way part of someone else's plan?  And, at least potentially, don't the roots of such a plan arise out of such potentially-Orwellian concepts as "WrongSpeak"* and "WrongThink"* (*my terms in both sets of quotation marks).

I've thought a lot about whether, given the chance, I would have changed anything about my childhood and early teenage years.  I'm not sure I would have.  As much as I might want to spare anyone else some of the horrible experiences I have had, I wonder if they, more than anything else, have made me who I am today.  I believe I possess a stronger will and that I am a more intelligent, a more articulate, and (hopefully) a more empathetic human being as a result. 

And if we dismiss certain ideas out-of-hand (or off-of-keyboard or out-of-mouth, as it were) as so inherently bad and wrong, and if we do that frequently enough, eventually, don't we even lose the ability to argue against those ideas reasonably and rationally in the first place ... to even say why they're so "bad" and so "wrong"?  I think we do.

Edited by Kenngo1969
No content changes; Simply finished a thought I left hanging
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6 hours ago, bluebell said:

But it’s wisdom that they also have. Because the speakers are a part of the student body, just like the listeners are.  They are having speakers that are basically themselves.

I always thought that the point of a commencement speaker is to offer advice. And if you read the most well-known commencement speeches throughout the last few decades, they offer advice from people who have been there to people who haven’t been there yet.  That’s where the value of the commencement speaker lies, in my opinion.

But to take people who haven’t been there and have them offering advice and insights to other people who also haven’t been there, just seems like a “less-than” experience to me.  Not that there is zero value in it, just that the value is less than what it could’ve been.

It also runs the risk of becoming an echo-chamber moment.  And echo chambers don’t have much value when it comes to learning and gaining knowledge (which is supposed to be at the whole point of college).

I guess you're right, in my mind's eye I see students speaking, but that's mainly high school graduations I guess. I guess they would want a guest speaker.

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3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

While I say this as someone who knows how much words could hurt, who's had epithets directed at me that should appall any reasonable, well-adjusted 20th-century listener (let alone anyone hearing such things in the 21st century), it seems to me that campus has become (and is becoming) less about the free and open exchange of ideas than it is about providing "safe spaces," characteristic-specific dorms, an "echo chamber" where what we already believe (which, self-evidently, is "right" or "correct" and, therefore, is above evaluation, criticism, or challenge) shouting down and hounding off of campus  anyone we believe has the "wrong" ideas, 

As many times as I told myself, on many days when I went home from school as a young person, "That's it.  I'm done.  There's no way I'm going back" (and bear in mind that I was subjected to much more than mere mildly-teasing words, including taunting and, in some cases outright bullying), intuitively, also, I knew (though I lacked the ability to put this thought in precisely these words at the time) that if I didn't go back, that would mean that my detractors and my tormentors had won ... and under no circumstances was I going to let them win.

I wonder, how much of a service are we doing our young people if we try to spare them, not only from macro-aggressions, but even from micro-aggressions, and not only from micro-aggressions, but from any sort of conflict whatsoever, and even from people who are (Gasp!) different from us in some way, who might think differently than we do, and so on, potentially ad infinitum? While I do think that people ought to be Christlike, the fact is that unless we exercise our own agency to make that choice for ourselves, it isn't likely to make any sort of genuine, lasting change.  (And wasn't essentially forcing people to behave in a certain way part of someone else's plan?  And, at least potentially, don't the roots of such a plan arise out of such potentially-Orwellian concepts as "WrongSpeak"* and "WrongThink"* (*my terms in both sets of quotation marks).

I've thought a lot about whether, given the chance, I would have changed anything about my childhood and early teenage years.  I'm not sure I would have.  As much as I might want to spare anyone else some of the horrible experiences I have had, I wonder if they, more than anything else, have made me who I am today.  I believe I possess a stronger will and that I am a more intelligent, a more articulate, and (hopefully) a more empathetic human being as a result. 

And if we dismiss certain ideas out-of-hand (or off-of-keyboard or out-of-mouth, as it were) as so inherently bad and wrong, and if we do that frequently enough, eventually, don't we even lose the ability to argue against those ideas reasonably and rationally in the first place ... to even say why they're so "bad" and so "wrong"?  I think we do.

I am not sure you have much of a leg to stand on in this instance.  Isn't 80% of the student body members of the Church??  If there is an echo chamber going on, wouldn't it be a continuation of that echo chamber having Church leaders speak as the commencement speaker???

I am thinking just the opposite of you.  I think there is such a lack of diversity that many don't ever hear a difference of opinion.  I think it is probably why whoever initially asked Elder Holland to speak probably never even thought about how some might not want to hear from a Mormon church leader.

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12 hours ago, california boy said:

I am not sure you have much of a leg to stand on in this instance.  Isn't 80% of the student body members of the Church??  If there is an echo chamber going on, wouldn't it be a continuation of that echo chamber having Church leaders speak as the commencement speaker???

I am thinking just the opposite of you.  I think there is such a lack of diversity that many don't ever hear a difference of opinion.  I think it is probably why whoever initially asked Elder Holland to speak probably never even thought about how some might not want to hear from a Mormon church leader.

If someone has a principled disagreement with me, more power to him or her.  Certainly, I can acknowledge and respect a principled stance, notwithstanding our disagreement.  You and I have principled disagreements on various issues, and I acknowledge and respect that.

I think the problem of the sort under discussion here is that it seems, too often, that student activists (and other activists) demand that those who speak or present on campus hew to the sort of standard of ideological purity that a "would-be-invitee" would find hard to meet, to put it mildly.  (For example, "someone must agree with me on absolutely everything, and must never have done or said anything that I, myself, never would have done or said").

I think, generally, that the "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged.  And with what measure ye mete, it shall be meted to you again" standard is useful in such cases as this.

Any disagreement between us notwithstanding, I wish you well.

Warm Regards and Best Wishes,

-Ken

Edited by Kenngo1969
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