Braver Angels Debate: Georgia State University

August 26, 2021 by Doug Sprei

During spring semester 2021, ACTA and Braver Angels partnered with Professor Andrew Jason Cohen and a team of students of Georgia State University to launch a student-led debate on March 31. Conducted on Zoom, the event drew wide student participation around their chosen topic of deplatforming controversial speakers on college campuses. Our collaboration was so fruitful that a long-term relationship with GSU has been established — including the formation of a BridgeUSA chapter on campus, and plans to stage more debates and workshops in coming semesters. At the bottom of this entry is the full letter from Professor Cohen reflecting on the event’s impact on students.

The student planning team at Georgia State University, with Professor Andrew Jason Cohen and ACTA/Braver Angels Director of College Debates and Discourse, Doug Sprei

We’ve done Braver Angels workshops and now, thanks to ACTA, a debate–and the fact that most student participants at the debate stayed the entire time… were willing to speak up and state their views after hearing others with views very different from their own… and let me know that they want to do it again, speaks volumes. Our culture may not value honest, open and civil discourse… but with Braver Angels and ACTA on board, I look forward to providing more experiences for students who do, and most importantly, encouraging them to realize how important it is and how much it should be a normal part of our lives.”

-Andrew J. Cohen, Professor at Georgia State University

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