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Braver Angels Virtual Debate

September 17, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


RESOLVED: Cancel culture is antithetical to the principles and liberties that are at the foundation of this country.

Agree? Disagree? Join the conversation! This is event is limited to St. Olaf Students, all of whom are invited to speak or ask questions.

“Cancel culture” is an umbrella term, which according to the Merriam Webster dictionary refers to the removal of “support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions. This can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.” The “cancelling” of something—or someone—is rarely done alone, making social media a powerful tool in this process. Someone is said to be “cancelled” when they experience group shaming for their actions or beliefs to such a degree that they begin to face serious personal, professional, or social consequences. While cancelation occurs in many ways, a cancelled individual is most often (and most consequentially) targeted on a professional basis. The focus on employment is based upon the interconnected conclusions that certain disqualifying beliefs make the cancelled individual unfit for employment, and that causing the cancelled individual to lose their job is a fitting punishment for the disqualifying actions.

What is a Braver Angels Debate?

A highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen to one another, and are open to being changed by ideas.

You probably haven’t experienced anything like a Braver Angels Debate. It’s not a political debate, where competing candidates attempt to win votes. Nor is it a competitive high school or college debate, where people advocate positions in which they may not believe for the sole purpose of vanquishing their foes.

A Braver Angels Debate is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships.

Using the parliamentary debate process, the conversation grows and develops through a series of speeches supporting or opposing the resolution. The structured format of a Braver Angels Debate encourages the passionate and energetic expression of ideas. The speeches that support or challenge the resolution together with the questions to the speakers from those in attendance lead to a stimulating exploration of the topic through civil discourse. The primary rule of these debates calls on participants, speakers and questioners, to articulate what they actually believe, even if it’s complicated or incomplete, instead of trying to provide an air tight case or advancing a position they don’t really support.

To learn more about these debates, you can view this video of a sample debate (it lasts about 15 minutes). If you are new to Zoom, which is the platform we use to present these debates, this two-minute video will help you get started. You can also download this one-page document with similar information.

Registration is limited to the St. Olaf Community, however, the event will be live streamed through St. Olaf’s Broadcast Media Services and accessible to all. Group registration is not enabled for this debate. If you would like to participate online in the virtual company of others, we recommend that you coordinate the timing of your registration and ask that individuals register for themselves.

Registration for this debate will be closed 12 hours prior to the scheduled starting time. This allows us time to make our arrangements based on the number of participants and provide adequate staffing. You will be sent a link for the Zoom meeting for this debate 12 hours before we start. This link will be sent by email to the email address you provide at registration. This link is unique to you and we ask that you help us keep the debate secure and safe by not allowing others to copy your link.

This debate is a free event brought to you in coordination with the Institute of Freedom and Community and Braver Angels. Braver Angels is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to depolarize America. We invite you to visit the Braver Angels website at www.braverangels.org to learn about the workshops and debates that are provided each with the ultimate goal of uniting America.”


September 17, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Institute for Freedom and Community
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