The Roanoke Times


RADFORD — In August, a bubbling discourse stemming from identity politics in America took a deadly turn in Charlottesville — weeks before the fall semester began at public universities across the commonwealth.

Since that day, the fervor of public debate on college campuses relating to free speech has only intensified, saddling administrators and instructors with the task of facilitating productive political conversation among students, faculty and staff while avoiding censorship.

Next semester, a new joint-course commissioned by Radford and James Madison universities aims to shape that conversation among students across Virginia.

Thanks to a $4,000 grant from 4-VA — a statewide program created by former Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2011 allowing public colleges and universities to collaborate on research and other educational projects — the two schools will offer a class focusing on respectful disagreement amid the changing dynamics of public life.

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