SOU starts the year off with civility

Southern Oregon University will be hosting the first civility lecture of the term on Thursday, a panel discussion on civility between three SOU professors entitled “Celebrating Dissent and Nonviolent Civil Protest: Exploring the Role of Nonviolent Action and Civil Disobedience in the Emergence of Civility,” in the Meese Room of the Hannon Library from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The panel discussion will explore the theme from the perspectives of three professors with very different academic backgrounds.

Those attending can expect to hear from Lee Ayers, a professor in the Criminology and Criminal Justice department, Steven Jessup, an SOU biology professor, and Jonathan Lange, an SOU communications professor, on how civil disobedience and protests relate to concepts about civility.

A major point to be discussed by the panel is the tactics involved in non-violent conflict and the importance of civility in our society during times of social unrest and political upheaval.

According to Jessup and Ayers, when civil order excludes a significant amount of citizens, social protest movements rise to challenge it through non-violent actions. A power struggle ensues, mainly between civilian protesters and law enforcement or military personnel, which is then fueled by social media and attention from news organizations. As civil liberties are eventually accommodated, civil order expands.

In response to these influences, according to Jessup and Ayers, law enforcement is being trained in a more militaristic fashion, using tougher strategies to protect the population, although Ayers pointed out that police departments still try to maintain a positive dialogue with the community.

Presentations from the panelists will be kept short, followed by an open question and answer session. The presentation is open to the public, and students are encouraged to attend.

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