Critical Conversations Speaker Series

Critical Conversations logo
Series Perspectives

For each of the Critical Conversations, a voice from the Auburn campus community will provide their unique and personal perspective on the topic with the goal of providing context within our university environment and the national dialogue. Visit this page often to read a fresh viewpoint on the discussion topics.

In attending the recent Critical Conversation lecture with Drs. Cornel West and Robert George, I was reminded of an important maxim. Words are powerful, powerful things. We forget that. As a student, I occasionally forget that. I consider myself to be a person who places a high value on compassion, integrity and justice and personally strive to evoke these ideals in my words and actions. I have always found it difficult to understand the construct of free speech without these values.

The recent dialogue between Drs. West and George helped me realize that I am not alone in this difficulty. Words without virtuous intentions are harmful. When I say virtuous intentions, I am not saying that conversations must be confined to matters of morality or temperance, but rather that words with virtuous intentions seek truth.

Rhetoric should not be created for vanity’s sake. We should all use our words to seek truth. When we use our words for vanity, or to hear the sound of our own voices, we advance our own agendas, not the truth.

When we speak truth into power we shine a light into our society's "moral blackout." This task is not easy, but it is necessary.

Truth seeking should make us uncomfortable. The truth should rattle our preconceived notions and unconscious biases.

Words that value human life and dignity, compassion and the truth--- those are the words that will truly set us free.

Auburn, let's seek the truth to set us free.

Kayla Warner
Senior, Public Relations
BSU President, 2016-17

Portrait of Kayla Warner

As SGA president, I am honored to be the voice of Auburn students as we facilitate discussions around challenging topics like prejudice, bias, and our own predispositions. I look forward to continuing to provide leadership to the university’s efforts on expanding dialogues among students, faculty, staff, and the campus community.

To ensure students have a college experience where they are challenged, learn to listen and develop greater empathy for others, it is our responsibility to keep the conversation going by providing opportunities for engaged dialogue. Following months of careful planning, I am proud to share Auburn’s new speaker series, Critical Conversations: Exploring Intellectual Diversity and the Free Exchange of Ideas.

The series features a number of prominent authors, scholars, and opinion leaders we have invited to campus to share in an important dialogue about diverse ideas and perspectives on a range of topics including free speech in higher education, race relations, diverse perspectives in the media, unconscious bias, and closed minds on campus.

Auburn is a unique institution known for its first-rate academic, research, and outreach programs. More importantly, we are known for our commitment to excellence, shared values, and a respect for others, regardless of their beliefs and backgrounds. I encourage all members of our campus, especially students, to take the time to attend these events and engage in your own critical conversations.

Join the conversation at 4 p.m., Friday, September 1, in the Student Center Ballroom!

Jacqueline Keck
2017-18 SGA President

Portrait of Jacqueline Keck
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Last Updated: February 26, 2018