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Hamilton College’s Common Ground program hosted WCNY (PBS) for the first installment of its “Ivory Tower on the Road” series at local colleges and universities for an hour and a half of debate, conversation, and disagreement on Feb. 28.

On the docket for the weekly roundtable discussion was diversity, equity and inclusion; IVF and reproductive  medicine; sanctuary cities; and military recruitment. 

The speakers — academicians from across Central New York — voiced their opinions and raised questions that struck at the core of what it means to be an American. Dave Chanatry ’80, professor of journalism at Utica University and director of the New York Reporting Project, hosted the program. 

David Chanatry '80 (right) moderated the discussions.
David Chanatry '80 (right) hosted the discussions. Photo: Nancy L. Ford

Tara Ross, professor of social studies at Onondaga Community College, spoke of the intense dichotomy between our supposed values of freedom, liberty and equality and the increasingly divergent path we find ourselves traveling down. How can we reconcile the two? Quoting Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…,” Ross raised another point — that as America begins to become a majority minority country, military recruitment among white males has begun to plummet. 

As discussion pivoted to the topic of military recruitment, Executive Director of Common Ground Ty Seidule noted that while recruitment does seem to be at a dangerously low level, reenlisting is at an all-time high. Other panelists spoke of the diverse view that Americans have of their military —  as a failure because of its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan — and tactics to restore wider trust between young people and the government. 

Next Event: Tuesday, Apr. 2

Common Ground: Rep. Cartwright ’83 and former Rep. Russell

Common Ground Events

Through programs like Ivory Tower, WCNY helps raise awareness among its reach to 19 counties in Central New York. Common Ground is a community-based organization, but not limited to the Hamilton College community. We help pave the way for informed discussion and reasoned disagreement by partnering and hosting guests with differing viewpoints on important topics. 

I love this part of my role as a student ambassador of Common Ground. As much as managing our social media account is wonderful and generates awareness of our events, I joined Common Ground to have, inspire, and facilitate conversations exactly like the one tonight in hopes of building a wiser and kinder world. 

That is one aspect of our mission — to demonstrate to students and community members that a respectful dialogue of disagreement is possible, and this is one way it can be done.

Common Ground

Common Ground is Hamilton’s multi-format program that helps prepare students for active citizenship. Designed to explore cross-boundary political thought and complex social issues, Common Ground brings respected thought leaders to Hamilton to participate in small classroom dialogues and large event discussions.

John Feehery, Aleigha Cavalier, and Steve Scully

Final Common Ground Examines Hot Topics for Presidential Election

The final Common Ground of the year examined a variety of hot topics that are top of mind for voters in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, including immigration, the economy, and abortion.

From left: Moderator Mimi Geerges, Rep. Matt Cartwright ’83, and former Rep. Steve Russell

Common Ground Panelists Discuss Guns, Climate Change, Reproductive Rights

The latest Common Ground event on April 2 provided a wide-ranging discussion of divisive topics that are on the minds of voters as the Presidential election approaches. Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright ’83 and former Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell discussed some of America’s most pressing policy issues. Mimi Geerges, host of CSPAN’S Washington Journal, moderated the conversation.

Hamilton’s Common Ground program hosted WCNY (PBS) for the first installment of its “Ivory Tower on the Road” series.

Common Ground Hosts WCNY “Ivory Tower on the Road”

Hamilton College’s Common Ground program hosted WCNY (PBS) for the first installment of its “Ivory Tower on the Road” series at local colleges and universities for an hour and a half of debate, conversation, and disagreement.

The College thanks Mary Helen and Robert Morris ’76, P’16,’17; Eve Niquette and Charles Pohl, P’20,’25; and Lori and David Hess ’77 for their generous support of Common Ground.

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