The Associated Student Government executive branch shared a statement with The Criterion about the recent backlash experienced after Steve Goreham’s lecture. The statement was also an op-ed in the Daily Sentinel.
Goreham’s lecture downplayed the significance of humans in climate change and elicited several responses from students, faculty and community members. The responses to the lecture was the subject of The Criterion’s last editorial.
The executive branch, consisting of President Beau Flores, Vice President Jeff Vela and Student Trustee Amara Hobbs, formulated a response to the the apparent efforts to “silence the freedom of students to have these discussions.”
The statement referenced Colorado Mesa University’s efforts in the past year to promote civic engagement on campus. The examples included hosting the Rural Colorado Gubernatorial Debate and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As demonstrated by the responses to Goreham’s speech, the efforts can come with controversy. Without expressing agreement or disagreement with Goreham, the executive branch emphasized the need to allow for discussions to take place.
“As CMU student leaders we will strongly resist calls to limit debate on campus or discriminate against speakers, guests or students based on their political beliefs, social orientation and or scientific disposition,” the statement said.
The executives went on to state that it’s imperative to promote a respectful atmosphere to exchange ideas in a university education system. The statement said this includes controversial speakers on heavily debated topics.
“The idea of not being open to hear both sides not only hurts the discussion, but creates a falsehood of notions that may not even exist,” the statement said. “We encourage all students and community members to partake in these discussions with a methodical, respectful and appropriate forum.”
The executives called attention to a society that is divided between left and right ideals, yet said conversations on debated topics are healthy for students to explore. “The ability for students to hear opposing views to their beliefs will help them understand the topic further, and more importantly, learn how to properly have a respectful conversation in order to find common ground,” the statement said.
“As responsible citizens in the twenty first century, it is our duty to stay informed on heavily debated topics especially in the current political landscape,” the statement said, “and encourage all individuals to partake in these discussions with the goal of bettering our society for years to come.”