Brown Bags and DACA Decision

And so it is FridayFriday seems to come along with a certain inevitability and with it another week is nearly done. Congratulations! I trust that you are settling well into your fall semester routines whatever those are.

I have spent yesterday and will spend this morning in Estes at the Fall Leadership Forum. Chairs, directors, heads, VPs of a variety of sorts, and other campus leaders. What’s cool is that Kalie and Emily were charged with designing and running processes to keep our meetings going well and productively. And they have been doing an amazing job! Making the department proud. Of course!

And then there is Mark who not only ran a fast 10K last week but is one of the guest coaches for the football game this week. Mark will get a behind the scenes look at the football facilities in the new stadium and watch the game from the sidelines. Very few are selected each game and each season for this honor.

And then there is the re-organized Communication Club. Carol and Elizabeth are heading up that effort. Carol wrote this after the event:

Wednesday night me and Elizabeth were excited to have 23 undergraduate students join us for the Communication Studies Club kickoff meeting. Admittedly, several were there for the free pizza, but most said they came in search of meeting other majors, making friends, and finding out more about the degree and what they can do with it. Many students were from out of state and most were meeting for the first time. Interestingly, there were a fairly even number of men and women! Students are excited to lead the club’s direction and will do so with our guidance. They’ve already decided they want the club to have a snapchat account. The club will meet twice a month on Wednesdays at 5:15. We’ll send a reminder in a week, once we have location figured out. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word.

I bet a bunch of you saw the wonderful feature on Allison written by Carol that is the lead story on our home page. http://communicationstudies.colostate.edu/.

Department of Communication Studies Research Brown Bags

In the spirit of collegiality and productivity, we are starting a series of research brown bags for faculty, graduate students, and members of the extended departmental community.  Each session will be led by a faculty member seeking feedback on a research project at any stage.  Conversations might thus range from a discussion about the conceptual contours of a new project, to exploring research design options, to parsing the details of pushing a manuscript across the finish line or tackling revisions to a rejected manuscript.  Ultimately, the faculty volunteer will determine the direction of the day’s proceedings.

This fall, sessions are scheduled across several Mondays from 11a – 11:50a in the conference room.  We would love to start this series with one senior faculty member from each area volunteering to lead one of the first three sessions, followed by any interested faculty on a first-come, first-served basis for the rest of the academic year.  Although faculty and students from all areas are invited to attend all sessions, we expect that everyone with a research interest in the presenting faculty member’s area will attend.  It is also our hope that these brown bag sessions will provide a more intimate, cooperative, and rigorous intellectual environment to supplement our departmental colloquia.

A couple of you have asked me to say something about the DACA decision.

I have been thinking a bit about what to say and as I often do when I am composing these emails, I think to our disciplinary history. I am thinking today about our deep Western history as one in which some of the first teachers of communication were migrants. Traveling from around the Hellenic world to Athens, the folks who came to be known as the Sophists arrived in Athens and begin to teach speech. They taught the tools necessary to make a world of a democracy and of cities. But they were often castigated. Sure, they were critiqued for their positions on knowledge—Gorgias is famous for writing something like 1) nothing exists, 2) if existences exists, we cannot know it, and 3) even if we can know it we cannot communicate it—but often the concerns about the Sophists were that they were foreigners. Aristotle was not Athenian and his position in Athens was, at times, precarious because of this. From the beginning of our discipline, then, rhetoric or communication has been connected with travel and mobility and with the advantages and disadvantages of seeming foreignness. My own sense is that the openness to contingency in many rhetorical theories is partially driven by the fact that so many rhetoricians traveled. And traveling has a way of making us humble about our own knowledge.

I think as well of the most more contemporary scholarship and teaching in co-cultural and inter-cultural communication. In this part of our discipline we raise again that fundamental humanness of us all. We recognize that all people deserve the right to be treated well and with respect. We recognize that education should be extended with open arms.

But I think as well of our community. We come from around the world. Our students and staff and faculty have traveled here from so many places. And all of us matter. All of us are valued. Are there papers that can justify my existence? Do stamps and signatures assure me of being afforded an education? Our discipline has an answer: it is our inherent worth as humans that underlies the way we will treat each other and our duties and responsibilities in regard for the other.

You know I have been writing some about the haunt. In his book Specters of Marx Derrida explores the haunting (im)presence of ghosts. He tells us that ghosts, that is the sometimes unacknowledged other, remind us of the call to offer hospitality to the unknown other. He reminds us that we are called, in so many faith and ethical traditions, to welcome the stranger, to give succor to the unknown, to bolster those who need help the most. These are values woven deeply into our discipline.

But I am not the only one who believes this. So too does Tony. He writes:

CSU has argued, and will continue to do so, that the benefit to Colorado from retaining and graduating these students who have attended both high school and college in the state – and have strong family ties here – is significant. Certainly, the benefit to our campus community from the presence of these strong, hard-working, and talented student leaders is also significant. We support any efforts to allow these students to complete their educations at Colorado State University. To that end, we have been in touch directly with our Congressional leadership, lending our voice in support of this program, and we have also been working through our national higher education organizations, which have been strong champions of DACA. Detailed information on contacts and resources is available at https://undocumented.colostate.edu/

Below my signature are some resources if you or others you know need help in these disconcerting times.

On this sobering note (not every Friday email ends with uplift!), I will end. I wish for you a peaceful weekend. I hope for your restoration and health.

Yours,
Greg

 

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