Conference is First of its Kind at Butler

BREANNA MANLEY | Staff Reporter


Filmmakers, journalists and scholars will present 10 exhibitions on the topic of “Engaging the Community” at Butler University starting April 1.

The exhibitions are part of the first Conference on Ethics and Public Argumentation, presented by the College of Communication.

“We have some great speakers from a number of different disciplines,” said senior Kate White, founder of the Student Engagement Committee. Which will provide assistance in running the conference. “(The speakers) will teach us a lot about how we can apply our communication skills beyond Butler, and how we can use it in an ethical way.”

CEPA is designed to create public dialogue and connections between people to resolve major conflicts and challenges in the community, said College of Communication dean Gary Edgerton in a newsletter.

Because all academic departments offer courses designed to interact with the community, he said the theme of engagement was chosen “to explore this and bring people on campus who wouldn’t be coming otherwise.”

Speakers are recognized locally, regionally and internationally.

The speakers include filmmaker Ted Green discussing his work “Undefeated,” Rev. Charles Harrison describing how his coalition members address violence in the community, and Wall Street Journal writer Elizabeth Bernstein.

Phillip Tock, sophomore recording industries studies major, said he is particularly looking forward to “Autism: The Musical,” the HBO film documentary by Elaine Hall that won two Emmys for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and nonfiction film editing.

“I think (autism is) a topic that people see in their day-to-day lives, and one of those things that a lot of people deal with. And it’s scary to deal with,” Tock said.

Not only will Tock be in attendance at the CEPA convention, he also will be giving a presentation with the Butler debate team. Tock and three additional students will discuss what the phrase The Butler Way really means.

“Really, we want people to analyze (the phrase) a little bit themselves so they can better internalize what The Butler Way means for them,” Tock said.

The debate team presentation is particularly appropriate for this conference because the idea for CEPA came from two Butler alumni and friends who debated during their years at the university—attorney Craig Pinkus (‘65) and former College of Communication interim dean of Bill Neher (‘66).

The Student Engagement Committee, consisting of nine Butler students representing each discipline in the College of Communication, will provide assistance throughout the four-day event. Students on the committee will promote the events, as well as introduce speakers.

“We will be there to help facilitate discussion and really just participate with students and show the outside community that we really are involved and we want to learn more about what’s going on in communications,” White said.

Committee members were encouraged to participate, as CEPA drives at the heart of the committee’s mission: building and collaborating within different communication efforts.

“I’m just really excited about the stride the College of Communication is taking to establish itself in the Butler community, as well as the external community,” White said. “I think we have a lot to offer potential students.”

CEPA will begin next Wednesday. Edgerton said he cannot choose an event he is looking forward to most, because each event will contribute to dialogue.

“I hope students will come,” Edgerton said. “I understand how busy everybody is, but what I can guarantee is if (students) can find a time to attend any of these, they will be pleasantly surprised about how much they get out of it. “