George Mason University

News at Mason

'Candid Conversations' offers respectful dialogue and listening

February 14, 2019

George Mason University’s Office of Strategic Diversity Initiatives, a unit of University Life, invites Mason students, faculty and staff to a series of three “Candid Conversations” in which they can discuss current events and controversial topics without facing marginalization for their opinions, values or beliefs.

Topics of discussion will be gun control and gun violence, reproductive rights and abortion, and anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and colonialism. The full schedule is below.

“One of our institutional goals for this academic year is to expand forums for community-wide dialogue around critical, difficult issues,” said Rose Pascarell, Mason’s vice president of University Life. “‘Candid Conversations’ offers an opportunity to do just that, particularly around subjects that are experienced as extremely polarizing. There’s no better place to have these conversations than in an academic setting where high value is placed on critical thinking, engagement and civil discourse.”   

Three University Life staff members will be present to facilitate the conversations, which are free and do not require registration, though attendance will be capped at 75 people.

“Candid Conversations” aspires to create an inclusive space where members of the Mason community can share their rich and varied experiences, beliefs and fears to better understand, acknowledge, protect and appreciate all perspectives, according to the Office of Strategic Diversity Initiatives. The event provides opportunities to bridge differences through civil discourse and commit to a process of listening to understand rather than trying to debate the topic and validate a particular position.


(All events are on the Fairfax Campus from 1 to 2:15 p.m.)

Feb 18:  Gun Control and Gun Violence, Merten Hall, James W. Hazel Conference Room (Room 1201).

March 18: Reproductive Rights and Abortion, Johnson Center, George’s.

April 15: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Colonialism, Merten Hall, James W. Hazel Conference Room (Room 1201).