Penn State and local high school students to participate in public issues forum

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The relationship between town and gown can be complicated, especially when it comes to questions of safety. Bringing people with different points of view together to discuss those issues is essential to finding a solution and implementing it for the community’s benefit.

The Center for Democratic Deliberation at Penn State will bring voices from throughout the community together in a public issues forum on the topic “Living in a University Town: How Should We Ensure a Safe Community for All?” from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 1 in 233B HUB-Robeson Center. 

The forum will include State College Delta Program High School students, Penn State students and community members. It will be modeled on the National Issues Forums dialogues, which use an issue guide to present a problem and several approaches to solving it. Participants consider each approach and the trade-offs associated with each one.

“The forum is designed to get at differences between how university students and high school students or community members experience safety issues,” said Brad Vivian, director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation. “Examples will include safety issues related to minors being on campus, safety issues generated by the presence of college students in surrounding neighborhoods, and ongoing interactions between high school students and University students in and around town.”

The forum is part of a high school class on public deliberation in the Delta Program, a democratic school option available to middle and high school students in the State College Area School District. The public deliberation class hosted a State College mayoral debate earlier this fall.

The Center for Democratic Deliberation, part of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, seeks to create stronger habits of engagement through civic education, and through research on deliberation and dissent in a democracy.

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Last Updated November 17, 2017