Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

As part of the 10 annual Civility Day of West Chester University, Charmaine Clowney, led a forum for students and colleagues to discuss civility and diversity from different perspectives. Clowney approaches this issue in that it is a hard topic to discuss, because of all the paradigms included in the topic.

“We can not understand diversity until we understand civility,” Clowney said.

According to Clowney, with all the incivility around, how would you know if someone didn’t like you because of your race or gender, or simply for the fact, they were uncivil? She describes civility as “kind, respectful, and polite.”

Clowney said that the rise of incivility is at an all time high, and more and more people are looking out for themselves instead of being civil toward other people. She also describes rudeness being at an all time high, discussing incivility in road rage, on airlines and trains, cursing, vulgar language and even in the media.

Clowney said she is shocked at the vulgarity of some the music videos she has seen, also with the mudslinging in recent elections.

Clowney said that the solution to these problems are not easy, but provided ways to remedy them. For instance, a person should approach people one on one, to get a more positive outcome.

“If we don’t approach uncivil people we are becoming part of the problem,” Clowney said.

A junior WCU nursing student said to help solve the problem we should start with the younger generations to bring civility back. Clowney agreed saying that more and more in our society children are mimicking the incivility of the adult world.

Lauren Bezila, a senior WCU nursing student, said “Kids develop from their home life, and they don’t understand what they are saying”.

“We’ve got to start somewhere” Clowney said, whether it being holding kids accountable for their actions, or bringing Civility into the curriculum of the younger generations, she describes. Dr. Cryshanna Jackson of The University of Akron also had views on the younger generations saying our society has been “desensitized,” in that no one is being held accountable for their actions.

Clowney said that we need to encourage everyone to help shape the policy of civility. She said we have to “make a difference in our own world”.

According to Clowney, we need to seek to understand the other individual, and find areas of agreement with the individual.

Also to balance things out and to create more ways to solve the problem, one should take more responsibility and accountability for the way people are being treated.

Clowney uses the book by Stephen Carter entitled “Civility”, to help create solutions for solving the issue of civility. According to both, civility does not mean liking someone it means to be civil toward others not depending on the fact that you like them. They both ask the question “Has technology caused a decline in civility?” According to Clowney, we need more human interaction to help stay civil toward each other.

Clowney, an honors graduate of University of South Carolina and John Marshall Law School, is now the Vice Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State of Higher Education’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

Clowney has toured across Pennsylvania and the country discussing civility and diversity with students. In her years helping West Chester University, she has helped to get five Diversity grants, and said she walks away from WCU having learned something every time she comes.

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