Inive Essay Iddeas

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Diversity is a core value of Guilford College, where I serve as president.

It challenges us to welcome a variety of persons and perspectives.

Every college and university has Democrats and Republicans, environmentalists and developers, occupiers and capitalists, vegetarians and carnivores, and fans of Fox News and NPR.

Diversity is a matter of listening to all sides with deference and a mind that is open to new ideas. There are still rights and wrongs and self-evident truths: Hate speech is evil, evolution happened, the earth circles the sun, and the Red Sox are the best team in baseball.

Much talk of diversity is about race, ethnicity, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

But what about diversity of perspectives and how we treat that kind of diversity?

Imagine what a cataract of horrors it would be for some Harvard University professors to be on the same faculty with a member of the Tea Party.

But beyond that difficulty lies an opportunity for understanding and compromise.

Yet having your beliefs challenged might change them or just make them stronger.

President Kennedy reminded us that, "Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs.


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