Civil Discourse at DU

DU is thinking big about how we can all engage more thoughtfully, authentically, and respectfully with one another. This means working to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion while also working to make room for a wide range of challenging, evidence-based ideas and perspectives.   

We believe higher education must work to uphold a number of core values, including intellectual curiosity, academic freedom and thought pluralism. These values are essential to the functioning of democracy. Moreover, they are essential to the advancement of knowledge—the very heart of what we do as an institution of learning and research. Read more about our commitment in our Freedom of Expression Policy

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For Our Students

The world is not intellectually, politically, spiritually, or culturally homogenous—and nor will it ever be. As part of DU’s 4D Experience, our students build the skills and experience to engage with the bounty of ideas and perspectives that make up the world.  

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For Democracy

Democracy flourishes in the light. And so, we will be curious and open – when we meet together in conversation, when we encounter an idea that challenges our preconceptions, and when someone raises their hand to say, “I see that differently…” 

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For Diversity

Civil discourse means engaging with voices and perspectives different from our own. This is central to our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and it ensures there is always a seat at the table. 

How We're Committing to Curiosity

Through the DU 4D Experience, we help students build the life skills they need to succeed during their college experience and far beyond. Using existing research across DU’s colleges, we offer in- and out-of-classroom opportunities for students to encounter new or challenging ideas and hone their ability to share their perspective and learn from others.  

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Denver Dialogues

The Korbel School of International Studies and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy convene thought leaders from premier U.S. think tanks to engage in constructive conversation and debate on policy issues impacting the nation and the world. 

Learn More About Denver Dialogues


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Civil Debate in the Classroom

Led by Professor Darrin Hicks, specialist in collaboration, debate and rhetoric and Faculty Fellow Jeremy Johnson, in partnership with Braver Angels, students and faculty engage in guided debates in the classroom on topics relative to and essential to their curriculum.

Learn More About Braver Angels  

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Scrivner Policy Roundtable

Quarterly collaborative learning events which convene Denver Metro policy makers and organizations, allowing for cross-collaboration on hyper-local issues affecting the Denver Metro community.

Scrivner Policy Roundtable

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The Colorado Project

Politically diverse group of civic, political, and private sector leaders focusing on policy-making in Colorado on issues often hampered by polarized debate — e.g., land use, housing affordability, economic mobility and inequality, and the effects of climate change.

The Colorado Project

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Political Engagement

DU’s Center on American Politics brings the issues impacting Colorado and the nation to campus by hosting events for the entire DU community, such as debates between candidates running for state or national office. 

Learn More About CAP


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Community Building

Through DU’s exceptional debate team, students learn valuable skills around communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.  

Contact the Debate Team Lead


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DU is one of only 23 universities HxA Campus Communities. Through this partnership, DU will host monthly gatherings and other programming designed to foster viewpoint diversity, open inquiry and constructive disagreement.  

Contact Kerry Floyd, Lapo Salucci or Claude d'Estrée to learn more. 

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Debate Across the Curriculum

Faculty across the University are working with Professor Darrin Hicks, specialist in collaboration, debate, and rhetoric, to integrate non-competitive debate into their classroom curriculum. Unlike traditional, competitive modes of debate, the goal is for students to come to shared understanding.

Contact Darrin Hicks to Learn More

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Belonging & Expression

Undergrad Student Government (GSG) and the Faculty Senate’s Freedom of Expression Committee partner on ‘Belonging and Expression’—a prototype framework for exploring the intersections of belonging, diversity, equity and inclusion, identity, intersectionality, and free expression, alongside a wide range of other important values associated with each.  

Contact the GSG president to learn more

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Take Five

A partnership between Community+Values and the Office of the Provost, ‘Take Five’ is a pilot designed to help set the groundwork for great conversation across different identities and experiences by encouraging faculty and staff to get to know each other over fun prompts, good food, and warm greetings.  

Contact Chase McNamee to Learn More

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Dialogue Across Difference (DIAD)

‘DIAD’ is designed to help students more quickly find courses where they can explore the many different facets of dialoguing across difference. Faculty are invited to ‘tag’ any of their upcoming undergraduate courses for inclusion in the pilot.  

Learn More About DIAD

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Committee for the Promotion of Free Expression

A convening group of faculty, students and staff appointed by the Faculty Senate and charged with creating meaningful and respectful forums for discourse—especially around salient or emergent topics on campus. As well, the committee examines issues of freedom of expression should they arise.