Forum brings intellectual debate to MU
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 03:10
Coming to Miami University late January or early February, the Janus Forum will bring in speakers to debate and discuss important core platform issues relevant to the future of the United States policy making. The first question that will be discussed in the forum will be ‘Is democracy working in America?’
The question was formulated and chosen by students who have helped this fall in building the structure of the event and worked to bring it to campus.
The Janus Forum, established at Brown University, will be coming to Miami University’s campus in the period immediately after the state of the union address as a strategy to draw greater student involvement.
Each speaker will have 20 minutes to discuss his or her viewpoint and then the students will have a period to question both speakers.
Tyler Sinclair, a graduate student in political science, is the campus coordinator for Miami University.
Sinclair recently traveled to Brown along with Eric Buller, director of the Wilks Leadership Institute and three other students, to learn more about the Janus Forum and what it can offer to students on Miami’s campus.
“It will be a place for members of the campus community to come together and discuss opposing views freely and passionately,” Sinclair said. “We provide a forum where students can explore the multitude of views that exist and arrive at their opinion knowing not only what they believe, but why they believe it.”
Although Buller and the political science department will provide logistical and administrative support, the leaders of prominent campus organizations will spearhead the program’s organization.
“It will encompass a broad spectrum of student groups, not those solely linked to political issues.” Buller said. “The Janus Forum will provide a venue for students to discuss a broad range of issues, anything from social to economic to government.”
Students working with the forum will be able to select the topic, and will select the speakers that will come.
“The expectation is that speakers will be well known and respected leaders, whose names are recognizable,” Buller said.
The Janus Forum is funded by a gift from the Thomas W. Smith Project for Liberty, Democracy, and Citizenship. This project funds programs across the nations that foster greater political involvement and education.
“In weeks prior to the forums first event, there will be an extensive and aggressive marketing campaign in hopes that it will muster widespread interest from the student body” Buller said.
Sophomore political science major Dixon Pike said he believes the event will have a positive impact on the student body’s viewpoints on important contemporary issues.
“The Janus Forum will enable students to shape their views with clarity,” Pike said. “Having such a resource on this campus will be an invaluable tool that students should utilize.”