Book Club

Open Minds Book Club

The Open Minds Book Club invites thoughtful participation from GVSU students, faculty and staff, members of the Hauenstein Center, and residents of the greater Grand Rapids area. Launched in winter 2021, Jakob Bigard, program manager of the Common Ground Initiative at the Hauenstein Center, and Brian Bowdle, associate professor of psychology at Grand Valley, will host virtual discussions once a semester on a book that is relevant to understanding and serving the needs of our democratic society.

Goals of the Open Minds Book Club

Initiating the kinds of conversations necessary for fostering an informed citizenry and wise leadership
Initiating the kinds of conversations necessary for fostering an informed citizenry and wise leadership
Bridging cultural, ideological, and generational divides through civil discourse
Bridging cultural, ideological, and generational divides through civil discourse
Growing a shared sense of belonging in our West Michigan community
Growing a shared sense of belonging in our West Michigan community

What are we reading this semester?

Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech - Keith Whittington

"Free speech is under attack at colleges and universities today, as critics on and off-campus challenge the value of freewheeling debate. In Speak Freely, Keith Whittington argues that universities must protect and encourage vigorous free speech because it goes to the heart of their mission to foster freedom of thought, ideological diversity, and tolerance. Examining hot-button issues such as trigger warnings, safe spaces, hate speech, disruptive protests, speaker disinvitations, and the use of social media by faculty, Speak Freely describes the dangers of empowering campus censors to limit speech and enforce orthodoxy. It explains why universities must make space for voices from both the Left and Right. And it points out how better understanding why the university lives or dies by free speech can help guide students, faculty, administrators, and alumni when faced with unpopular, hateful, or dangerous speech. Timely and vitally important, Speak Freely shows why universities can succeed only by fostering more free speech, more free thought—and a greater tolerance for both."

Open Minds Book Club

The Hauenstein Center will host our first meeting via Zoom on Friday, March 12 at 4 pm to discuss Speak Freely. If you are still interested in registering for the session, please contact Jakob Bigard for more information on how to register. 

 

Register for the event here

“Speak Freely is a thoughtful and compelling account of how colleges and universities came to embrace the value of free expression as central to their mission, why they should remain faithful to that value in the face of current controversies, and how they should best approach and address these issues. Carefully reasoned, balanced, and persuasive, this book will be a valuable guide for anyone who wants to better understand what's at stake in today's disputes over free speech on campus.”

Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago Law School