Monday, February 7, 2011

To Be Civil… or Not to Be Civil

Ferrum College recently offered an evening discussion called, "Shut the (bleep) Up." Issues related to civility. While it might seem obvious that people should be civil to one another, there were strong arguments that people used civility to "hide" their personalities. Public Relations Intern Meagan Hodges participated in the event and blogs about it below.

By Meagan Hodges
Public Relations Intern

Have you ever felt that someone has been uncivil or disrespected you? Sure you have. In fact, I’m sure there have been numerous instances. This is why the “Shut the [Bleep] up – Conversations about Civility” event, held on February 1st in the Confetti’s Lounge in Bassett Hall, was so important. Twelve students and two faculty members spoke out openly of examples in their own lives of how they have been disrespected, and voiced their opinions about the advantages and implications of civility.

Joseph Fridley, Residence Hall Educator, facilitated the discussions and asked questions such as, “Why is civility important to a community?” Other topics discussed included the curtain of civility between online and real world behavior, the context of civility, and cursing. There was much debate on whether cursing should be used only in certain places or instances, or if it should be intolerable all together. Some agreed that vulgar language has no place in society, whether it is in public or private, but the consensus amongst students was that as long as it doesn’t offend anyone, that there is a time and place for cursing.

The pros and cons of civility were also a hot topic. Many said that there are no cons to civility because it’s about respect. Others said that enforcing civility is a form of judging. Zachalee Mercado, Ferrum student, said, “Civility hinders society because no one knows who you really are.” Often times, people hide their true selves in an effort to be civil. Other students expressed their doubts about a completely civil society because of the lack of interest of some people to behave in a civil manner. Justin Beveridge, Ferrum student, said, “Civility works more when it’s something that everyone buys into.”

This discussion was part of a series of themed conversations to be held throughout the course of the semester to help shed light on pressing issues involving the campus community. These events provide a safe public forum for students and faculty to voice opinions, and along with provided food and drinks, creates a friendly atmosphere for participants. I hope these discussions will aid in getting students involved in making positive changes on campus. In the words of Joseph Fridley, “Civility only works as a whole if students enforce it.”

1 comment:

  1. To be uncivil is to make known that you do not care about others. So how can being civil hinder oneself or society? Society should be about community and caring about others. When society expects civility it encourages everyone to become BETTER people, "not self but others", as we Panthers say. This in no way hinders anyone but instead helps them.

    Take any vulgar language, for example, and then think about what it means. It is more than just a hindrance but actually damaging both to the one using the language and the one listening to it. So if someone demands not to hear it, they are actually helping the person using it become better. Let's put it this way. Nobody came out of the womb cursing a storm. They learned it somewhere along the way. That was when the hindrance, actually damage, occurred. So if they were to stop using the vulgar language, they would be much more like their original selves. Nobody just naturally curses. You can always help it, and in that way you become a BETTER person.

    Sincerely His,
    Joby Kauffman