Take It On 2020
Take It On 2020: Seeking Difference, Exploring Common Ground
In the year 2020, we at Xavier University face daunting challenges. As we head into the 2020 election season, political division and polarization has become more intense both on a national level and in our local communities. We often avoid and demonize those who disagree with us.
At Xavier, we believe we can do better. We seek out difference with the aim of listening, respecting, and being open to learning from each other. We explore common ground when discussing controversial topics so that our students may learn to engage in difficult dialogue with others in a civil, productive manner. While we welcome a variety of opinions, we hold certain values to be central to this project:
- Name the problem: We are concerned about the divisive and polarizing political and societal challenges that we expect in 2020, including the 2020 election.
- Leverage our Jesuit Catholic heritage: We draw on the gifts and values of our Jesuit Catholic heritage, including the dignity of the human person and value of the liberal arts education.
- Build on our resources: We draw on and expand the resources of our faculty, staff, administrators and students, University policies and community partners.
- Act with humility and courage: We know we will make mistakes but are convinced that we must speak and act on our convictions while listening to, showing respect for, and being open to learning from others.
- Keep our community at the center: Our students are at the center of this project; in order to support our and educate our students, faculty and staff need to be fully invested as well. This project is about our community, including the need to belong and be included, to engage with ideas that challenge, to grow in our capacity to articulate our own positions and values.
We invite you to get involved. This year, our goal is to build the campus capacity to face the challenges of 2020. We began last winter with identifying and scheduling speakers on topics that challenge us and create opportunities for growth for all of us. We also curated and created resources and training to support better dialogue.
The need for proactive engagement across difference and divide has only become sharper over the course of 2020, as our country and our campus take further needed steps to dismantle structural anti-Black racism, as we return to campus and continue to live with COVID-19, and as we enter a challenging election season that will seek to divide us and demonize each other.
With so much at stake, and so many pressing issues on all of us, we will focus on two key outcomes this Fall:
- Develop and promote The Xavier Way for Dialogue: A Shared Vision to Strengthen our Community
- Engage and process the November 3 general election as a campus community
- Support members of the Xavier community who would like to work at the polls on November 3.
- Encourage the Xavier community to make a plan to vote with these non-partisan guides: this poster (by student designer Ashley Ohmer, working with the Office of Student Involvement) or these detailed PowerPoint slides (by student Peter Korchak).
The Xavier Way for Dialogue: A Shared Vision to Strengthen our Community, developed in conversation with faculty and staff across the University, offers ten norms as shared commitments for deepening and broadening the bonds of our campus community. This document was developed in early 2020 by Marcus Mescher, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics (Theology), in consultation with the faculty, staff and students on the Take It On 2020 Council, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Mission and Identity, the Ethics/Religion and Society program, the Staff Advisory Committee, the Center for Faith and Justice, Residence Life and the College of Arts and Sciences Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
The challenge is great. The time is now. We're ready to Take It On.