Three weeks later, chalking about abortion has left an indelible mark on Butler University’s communal conscience.
The event prompted the Center for Faith and Vocation to host a public forum for people to discuss the chalking and civil debate in general.
The CFV’s event, “Big Questions: Respecting Differences,” marks what could be a significant shift in Butler’s sociopolitical discussion.
Craig Auchter, associate political science professor, moderated the event.
“I came into this event more interested in how we talk about a these issues than the issues themselves,” Auchter said. “How do we ultimately foster an environment of respect with such deeply-held beliefs?”
The CFV invited Demia Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and Bulldogs for Life to the discussion.
While several members and executives from Demia showed up, Bulldogs for Life leadership largely declined the opportunity to share its views.
Still, many pro-life individuals not associated with Bulldogs for Life attended, as well as one Bulldogs for Life member.
In this venue, students had the opportunity to express their stance on abortion and how they thought the chalking impacted student thought.
Despite differing views, students enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these issues with one another.
“I really appreciated the conversation,” junior Hannah Varnau, a Demia member, said. “I think it helped people learn how to have more conducive conversations about these tough topics.”
In comparison to the chalking, the public forum was a far more enlightening, informative and human way to structure this discussion.
This sets a new, exceptional precedent for how students bring these heady conversations to the public realm at Butler.
Ultimately, this manner of instigating campus conversation benefits everyone.
Social-issue and political organizations on campus would likely spark more interest for their causes and groups if they hosted more public forum events.
These groups also are less likely to be misinterpreted through an actual conversation than a quickly- scrawled talking point on the sidewalk.
Students would hear a more nuanced back-and-forth about these heavy topics at forums.
This would be especially helpful to those who have not decided where they stand on certain issues yet.
Although it reached a smaller audience, “Big Questions” demonstrates a positive step toward more active, beneficial political discussion, like public forums and rallies would do.
Hopefully, campus organizations continue hosting and encouraging these events and open them to broader audiences.