Ursinus Contingent Explores Campus Free Speech at PA Consortium

An Ursinus team participated in a conference of Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts exchanging ideas on free speech on campus and dialogues on diversity.

A team of students, faculty and administrators, including President Brock Blomberg, attended the first major conference of the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts, a statewide group of 11 liberal arts colleges.   

Representatives of the 11 member campuses gathered in Lancaster, Pa. last week to explore the ability of campuses to have dialogues around diversity.

“I was honored to join a group of like-minded liberal arts colleges collaborate in an open and transparent way and discuss what are challenging issues relating to free speech, diversity and social justice,” said Blomberg. “During one session, each group described a specific campus situation, and I saw, once again, that our campus is not unique. But it reminded me of what I am most proud of at Ursinus – everyone’s voice was heard and valued.”

The Ursinus group consisted, in addition to Blomberg, of Terrence Williams, assistant dean of students and diversity adviser; Robert Clothier, general counsel and special assistant to the president; Sheryl Goodman, associate professor of media and communication studies;  Andrew Economopoulos, professor of economics; and students  Victor Fernandez and Christopher Tan.

“The students did a wonderful job contributing, and presenting on the issue of free speech on campus,” said Goodman.

The Posse Foundation, which identifies, recruits and trains young leaders and sends them in groups to top colleges, facilitated the morning conversation. PBS’s The Open Mind host Alexander Heffner offered reflections as a journalist. Other participating colleges were Swarthmore, Washington and Jefferson, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, Juniata, Haverford, Gettysburg, Franklin & Marshall, Dickinson, and Bryn Mawr College.

The consortium was formed in 2014 to leverage resources, improve communication and enhance programs and services among the member colleges. The consortium was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. – By Wendy Greenberg