Free Speech

The recent decision of Liberty University to not recognize the college’s democratic club is frightening. Here is a clear example of religious belief trumping free speech and free inquiry. For this to happen at a flagship school makes this all the more frightening. Liberty University’s policy, which was included in the e-mail to students of the club informing them of this decision, reads, in part, as follows: “All such clubs or organizations and their activities or events must be consistent with the University’s mission, and must be and remain in compliance with the Liberty Way, the Honor Code, and any policies or procedures promulgated by the University.” And the Democratic Club, according to the e-mail, is an arm of the Democratic Party Platform which “is contrary to the mission of LU and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeat of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the ‘LGBT’ agenda, Hate Crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.).” Sounds an awful lot like “free speech is not allowed here” but “bigotry is welcomed” to me. Colleges and universities that fail to support free speech and promote discrimination should lose their accreditation. It’s as simple as that.


Commencement Speeches

This is a great source for commencement speeches, a listing of the top ten, a chance to vote, and lots more.


Advertising as News

It seems advertising is more and more disguising itself as news. We now have advertisements on the covers of magazines. We have advertisements for network programs inserted into network news stories. And we have advertisements in magazines and newspapers that are designed to look like articles—despite the small print that says “advertisement”.
One of the most misleading occurs on CNBC, a network devoted to financial news. Yet, it allows advertisements on financial issues to appear as if they are just another segment of the ongoing show. The CNBC example is especially disturbing because it seems to me to be directed at people who are anxious about their financial situation and who are consequently more likely to be taken in by the advertiser’s claims, perhaps not evaluating the claims as logically as they might if they were in better circumstances. Shame on you CNBC (and all the other stations and media who allow similar types of advertisements that are disguised as news)! You’re better than that, CNBC.
All of these instances seem to me to be designed to mislead the reader and viewer and are therefore unethical. All provide good examples (and a good project in media literacy) of how the media are looking to make a buck rather than present advertisements for what they are—advertisements. Apparently, money comes before truth and honesty.


Communication in Business

Here's an interesting interview with CEO James J. Schiro (of Zurich Financial Services). In answer to the question, "What is the most important leadership lesson you've learned?", Schiro says: It's the ability to listen, and to make people understand that you are listening to them. And, in answer to the question, "Is there a skill you're looking for in job candidates now more than you did, say, five years ago?", Schiro says: Interpersonal skills and a sensitivity to people are key.


Civility in the Classroom

Here's a particularly thought-provoking discussion on classroom politeness by P. M. Forni, one of the outstanding writers on the topic of civility and politeness, generally.


Strange Courses

Take a look at the 15 strangest college courses. They make you wonder.


Religion and Religiousness

One surprising finding from a poll on religious affiliation among Americans that you may want to add to your public speaking discussion of religion and religiousness in audience analysis finds that about half of all adult Americans change their religious affiliation at least once. The poll and lots of other interesting material on religion useful in audience analysis discussions may be found at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life at http://pewforum.org/.

Success with Communication

You'll notice that I added a link to Success with Communication (listed at the right as Interpersonal Communication Skills) at the request of Joel Seah. Joel's masthead reads: Through techniques from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), The Enneagram and daily life experiences, I will share with you simple yet powerful tips to enhance the way you communicate and increase your influence! It seems to offer a different take on communication which I thought some of you may be interested in. Joel, if you'd like to add a comment, please do.