In the current era of deeply polarized politics, college campuses have become increasingly inhospitable environments for respectful political dialogue. To address this, the College Debates and Discourse Program hosts debates that offer college students the opportunity to engage in a collective search for truth, with the express goal of encouraging healthy civic pluralism.
With AVDF’s support, Braver Angels will host at least 30 in-person, on-campus debates during the grant period for at least 900 student participants. They will serve at least 10 new schools that want to bring the methodology to their campuses. They will also train at least 20 students as debate chairs, such that they can continue to host debates at their schools without a Braver Angels staff presence. As evidence of these outputs, coordinators will provide a detailed summary of the debates held during the grant period, along with a list of schools where debate chairs were trained and the number of trained chairs at each school.
As indicated by survey results from the college debates to date, Braver Angels expect these activities will result in improved student attitudes toward an understanding of ideologically diverse people, an improvement in campus political culture, and an openness to ongoing engagement with depolarization activities.