Organized by a four-part collaboration made up of the Student Government Association (SGA), the department of Academic Affairs, the department of Student Affairs and the
University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), the Teach In, Speak Out, Think Together discussion will be taking place from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Pedroso Center. This event was created in response to Sean Spicer and Donna Brazile coming to lecture at NEIU on the following day.
President of the UPI and professor of justice studies and women and gender studies, Nancy Matthews, discussed the ultimate goal of the discussion. “The idea of a teach in sounds like we are going to have a lot of experts explaining things to people. But then the speak out term gives room for more people to participate who have something to say – but I guess you could call it all teaching in some way. The thinking together part is to emphasize that we are an intellectual community, an educational community,” stated
The intention of this discussion was not to compete with the Spicer/ Brazile lecture, but rather to inform and equip students with a balance of empathy and information regarding the speakers and NEIU as a cohesive student body before the lecture took place. Matthews further explains, “the event is for grappling with those really important issues of democracy. It is also about educating people on the very real threats to democracy and fairness and society that are happening right now.”
Within the three-hour time slot, the lectures and discussions will be interspersed. Microphones will be provided for participants to be able to ask the speakers questions. The finalized list of speakers is yet to be released.
When asked her opinion of the lecturers coming to campus, Matthews remained balanced. “People started organizing within minutes of the announcement happening. So I knew there would be protests, but I felt like there needed to be space for using this as a teachable moment.”
Despite the controversy behind the speakers selected for the Daniel L. Goodwin lecture series, Matthews’ opinion is filtered through a macro lens. Her thoughts on Goodwin and his selection are as follows. “I think this is an unfortunate reality of living in a capitalist society. A society in which public higher education is so poorly funded that we become very dependent on wealthy people who can give us big chunks of money.” However, Matthews sees the value in this controversy.
“We can be advocates for free speech and intellectual exchange of ideas because we still need to be able to have dialogue and discussions, even with people that we strongly disagree with. And so the teach in, speak out, think together is a combination of those things,” said Matthews.
A follow-up event is scheduled for Sept. 17 from 4 – 7 p.m.
Correction: The article is titled “Teach in as an alternative to Spicer lecture,” however this is a misrepresentation of the event because it was held the day prior to the lecture.