Dr. Bill Woodson, chief diversity officer and dean of outreach at New College, announced his intention to hold the meetings in an article submitted to the student newspaper, The Catalyst. The article was also republished Sept. 23 in New College News.
The meetings are set for Oct 8, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Hamilton Center cafeteria area, and Nov. 20, from 3:30-4:40 p.m. in Chae Auditorium in the Heiser Natural Sciences Complex. The town halls will be hosted by Woodson and New College President Don O’Shea.
In his article, Woodson said after reviewing 2016 and 2017 climate surveys, research and work done by the deliberations of the Committee on Campus Climate and Culture, “a clear path forward and a focus for the coming year and beyond has emerged.” The end result, he announced, was the approval of a campuswide climate initiative.
“My aspiration for the student experience of New College is that this is a place where we are all exposed to new and different ideas,” Woodson wrote. “That our students graduate, not only with first-hand knowledge of contrary points of view, but with an enhanced ability to engage and challenge those points of view, while remaining in relationship, even in fellowship, with people whose opinions conflict.”
The upcoming town halls, Woodson said, will be “pretty unstructured.” He hopes students will bring the “desire to do the work the college has to do … to develop a skillfulness and desire to hear a variety of opinions.
“People have opinions. Bringing opinions to the surface is a good place to start.”