The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

The Year of Discourse and Dialogue aims to unite the campus community

The+Year+of+Discourse+and+Dialogue+aims+to+unite+the+campus+community
Fikayomi Olagbami | Staff Illustrator

Following a series of ‘controversial’ Turning Point USA events in the spring of 2023, the issues of free and protected speech have become a hot topic across the University. As a response, the University of Pittsburgh is leading efforts to effectively foster conversation about difficult topics through their “Year Of” initiative for the 2023-24 academic year.

In a statement released by the Office of the Provost on April 27, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd announced that the 2023-24 academic year will be the “Year of Discourse and Dialogue,” and will feature programs geared toward the campus community to “respect divergent viewpoints and the rights for various viewpoints to find opportunities for expression.”

Cudd also announced that Dr. Kenyon Bonner, vice provost of student affairs and Dr. Carissa Slotterback, dean of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, will lead efforts for the Year of Discourse and Dialogue.

Bonner expressed his enthusiasm to be leading the efforts of this year’s “Year Of” initiative.

“Serving as co-chair of the Year of Discourse and Dialogue is a privilege and intriguing opportunity to help engage the Pitt community in experiences that build relationships, advance our understanding of ourselves and each other, and effectively communicate with others through discourse and dialogue,” Bonner said.

Cudd said that she is confident in Bonner and Slotterback’s ability to co-direct this year’s theme.

“Their individual and collective expertise makes them powerful voices on this critical topic sure to engage others and certain to motivate dynamic conversations and explorations,” Cudd said.

University spokesperson Nick France said that issues surrounding free speech is a growing concern for universities nationwide. 

Across the country, campuses are balancing many different viewpoints and voices all the time,” France said. “This has become a more prominent issue over the last year or two.” 

France said that co-directors Bonner and Slotterback will develop a team to support this year’s ‘Year Of…’ theme. This team will work on various aspects of the initiative, including the development of a website.

France said that following the announcement of the theme in April, most action taken toward the “Discourse and Dialogue” theme will begin in the fall.

“Traditionally, efforts begin in full at the start of the new academic year,” France said. “That is the time when the funding cycle for projects related to the Year Of [initiative] begins, for instance.”

Sydney Fiore, a sophomore double majoring in psychology and English writing, said that she hopes that this year’s theme will help students find common ground.

“I think it’s a good start, especially [because] of how angry and dissatisfied people on both sides were last school year,” Fiore said. “The whole idea of themes is also interesting, and hopefully it’ll do some good.”

About the Contributor
Anna Kuntz, Staff Writer