The new civility

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

President Earl H. Potter III addresses employees at Convocation 2012

President Earl H. Potter III addresses employees at Convocation 2012.

President Earl H. Potter III today called for a new era of civility.

Speaking to employees gathered for Convocation, Potter described a "culture that is characterized by the ability to deal with difficult issues with respect, in an atmosphere of civility."

Potter referenced the lack of respect and civility in Congress, the Legislature and in the news. Social critics have suggested social media, blogs and reality television have fueled a rise in rudeness and an inability to find common ground on issues of the day.

Faculty Association President Susan Hubbs echoed Potter's remarks, challenging university employees to consider three criteria when speaking and publishing: "Is it useful? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"

Convocation marks the start of the academic year. Speakers, panels, workshops and a state-of-the-university address are key features of Convocation each August. View the text of Potter's address.

Potter said establishing standards for how employees communicate and frame issues will help St. Cloud State meet expectations handed down by Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the 31-school Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system:

  • Offering students an extraordinary education
  • Being the partner of choice for Minnesota’s employers
  • Maintaining access, affordability and opportunity for all students

"Only in a university that allows itself to be subject to the principles of civil and informed discourse can our mission be achieved," said Potter, who has served as president since 2007.

As an example of the new civility, Potter pointed to Walid Issa, a 2013 graduate in applied economics. Issa was among five Palestinians and five Israelis who interned this summer at a Washington D.C. non-profit committed to creating new perspectives on peace in the Middle East.


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