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CSAD Essay Contest
Current Kenyon students are invited to submit an original essay on the theme of the 2017 conference of the Center for the Study of American Democracy, "Free Speech, Civil Discourse." The topic is a timely one for national discussions about higher education and American political discourse more broadly.
There is no prescribed way to address the topic, but the following questions may prompt your thinking:
What are the appropriate bounds of academic freedom and political expression for those with controversial or hateful views?
Can a society reduce micro-aggressions and expand inclusion without chilling candor and participation?
Who decides which speech and speakers are preferred or excluded? What standards or process should be used?
How does the Kenyon faculty’s unanimous statement on free expression inform the proper contours of free speech and civil discourse?
What factors help or hinder free and civil political discourse in the American polity today? What could be done to improve free speech and civil discourse?
Essay should be approximately 1,500 words. They should not be research papers,but well-informed essays that demonstrate awareness of recent events and timely debates about free speech and civil discourse.
Essays should be solely authored by the student submitting it, should be written in a formal third-person style and should follow standard procedures for citation of words and ideas borrowed from others.
The winning essay should be well composed but also analytical, original, focused and well-informed. Essays should avoid partisanship, polemics and speculation and show the ability to consider alternative viewpoints and rebut them persuasively.
The winner will receive $500 and will be invited to dinner with the conference speakers.