A lesson in civility 'It's not always the other guy'

Tue, 2018-07-10

WATERLOO — How do you disagree without being disagreeable?

That question is at the heart of the Revive Civility Iowa community conversation that came to Hawkeye Community College on Tuesday.

The programs, planned for throughout Iowa, are sponsored by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University and the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Event participants were asked to write down community issues. Topics they pointed out included politics and City Council issues, diversity and racism, social media and other people not having an open mind.

“We’re not going to solve the community issues tonight, we’re not going to even try,” said Jeff Kluever, assistant director of the Ray Center.

Kluever did address how to manage issues through conflict resolution techniques.

“With the midterm elections coming up, we thought it was important to have a few sessions to start talking about strategies for civil discourse,” said Amy Smit, associate director of administration and communications.

The event included practice sessions and information on building relationships and connections, achieving a win-win negotiation and communication techniques.

“I think that you don’t have to get sick to get better,” Smit said. “ ... It’s really easy to talk about civility, and the first thing you do is point a finger to the other guy. So this is also a good refresher because it’s not always the other guy.”