In a dark corner of the coffeehouse, on the evening of Nov. 3, an eclectic assortment of Lawrence students gathered to discuss anything and everything that crossed their minds. The event, included in This Week, is titled “Current Events Open Mic Night.”When asked what he thought the purpose of this forum was, participant Peter Iversen, junior, said, “It gives the readers of The Lawrentian an opportunity to fully discuss opinions expressed in the newspaper.”
In discussion-heavy courses at Lawrence, many students have experienced the prominence of a few voices while many hang back. That was not the case Monday night. Although it took a little while to establish a flow and rapport, the small but rapt group seemed to grow comfortable with their conflicting views as they examined diverse topics rife with controversy.
Discussion began with the examination of one of the participant’s recent editorials regarding race and merit in college admissions. From there it moved onto the purpose and goals of discussion in general, and from there onto reason, religion, and cultural identity.
That was simply one half hour.
Iversen said, “Students who feel that current events deserve more depth or attention [now] have a forum to express those views.”
Even the topic of discussion in general was confronted, as several individuals discovered that they had differing views of how forum discussions should be run.
The discourse seemed heated, yet cordial. Participants seemed to respect each other although they differed in opinion.
To give you an idea of the diversity of discussion, here are some sound bytes:
“Sweden-a very homogenous society.”
“What’s important on college campuses is moral character and showing that you belong-that’s what admissions offices look for.”
“Most people by and large in the west understand that race is not a factor.”
“Religion is an impassable barrier.”
“Struggle happens because people are too set in their ways, and they want other people to agree with them.”
“There’s good reason America is a leader.”
“Religion… dancing for rain and so forth.”
Each of these remarks riled at least one of the participants, but there seemed to be no offense meant, and none taken. The Open Mic Night is Mondays at 9 p.m. in the Underground Coffeehouse.