Kent State’s College of Communication and Information Partners With Civic Organization to Lead Panel Discussions at Republican National Convention

During the upcoming Republican National Convention, Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information will partner with Purple America, a national initiative aimed at refocusing the American conversation to a civil, productive and respectful dialogue on common values, to lead discussions important to information and media-related disciplines and democracy.

Purple America’s 2,500-square-foot Purple Tent will feature speakers, panel discussions and roundtables for media, delegates, bloggers, students, politicians, business and civic leaders and anyone who wants to have civil dialogue on a range of topics from noon to 7 p.m. on July 18, 19 and 20. The tent is located outside the security checkpoint, near the Jane Addams Business Careers Center on E. 30th Street in Cleveland.

Panel topics include (detailed schedule below):

Is Civility Dead?

According to media reports, the theme of election politics in 2016 seems to be “Voters are angry.” If this is what public anger produces, we need a better source of civic motivation.

Engaging Millennials:

Advocacy and Influence in the Digital Age with Facebook and Twitter. How can millennials use social media to foster a more civil dialogue?

Finding Common Ground:

Crossing the Aisle: Major Public Policies Where Parties Share Common Ground in the Next Congress. Are there common values that we share as Republicans and Democrats to unite us?

Polling and Media:

Bias in Numbers and in the Media: The media can promote extremism, hatred and panic to the public, but can it also lead us to greater civility and more productive debate? What you need to know about what’s behind those polling numbers?

“The Purple Tent partnership makes sense because we can address issues relevant to our audiences,” says Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Communication and Information. “How can media play a constructive role in promoting civil discourse? How can we help better educate the public on the critical role of media in providing information to voters and fact-checking candidates? We also need to engage in conversations that remind media professionals that when coverage focuses too heavily on polls and the horse-race aspect of politics, voters don’t get the information they need to understand complex issues. The Purple Tent allows for the civil and informed discussion of these kinds of issues. We need more opportunities like this to engage politicians, journalists, civic leaders and others in these important conversations.”

Participating in the Purple Tent activities also gives several students in the College of Communication and Information the opportunity to volunteer as live bloggers throughout the events. Follow their commentary on social media at #CCIPurpleTent, #CCIRNC and #Purple4Civilty.

“We hope the Purple Tent is a standing-room-only space all day long,” says Stuart Muszynski, president and CEO of Purple America and Values-in-Action Foundation. “We are really excited to have the Kent State College of Communication and Information as a partner because I can see how it can act as a model for civil dialogue on a major college campus, a model that can become the standard for others across the nation.”

Muszynski shares that through research, its organization discovered 12 shared American values: equality, love and respect, giving back, faith, self-expression, the good life, family, doing the right thing, opportunity, freedom, community and success.

“Our politics may divide us, but our values unite us,” Muszynski says. “This is why it’s important that we have a presence at the convention.”

All sessions are free and open to the public. As of July 6, there are no security checkpoints scheduled, and parking is available in surrounding parking areas.

Schedule:

Where:  Purple Tent, located outside the Jane Addams Business Careers Center (2723 E. 30th St., Cleveland, OH 44115)

Monday, July 18
“Community Day” for Cleveland-centered organizations

Tuesday, July 19

  • Noon-12:30 p.m. – Purple America intro
  • 12:30-1 p.m. – Keynote: Michael Steele (MSNBC political analyst and former chairman of the Republican National Committee)
  • 1-2:30 p.m. – Is Civility Dead? According to media reports, the theme of election politics in 2016 seems to be “Voters are angry.” If this is what public anger produces, we need a better source of civic motivation.
    Matt Dowd (ABC News chief political analyst), Michael Steele and Juan Williams (Fox News political analyst)
  • 2:30-2:45 p.m. – Break
  • 2:45-4 p.m. – Finding Common Ground: Crossing the Aisle: Major Public Policies Where Parties Share Common Ground in the Next Congress. Are there common values that we share as Republicans and Democrats to unite us?
    Stephen Dinan (author), Grover Norquist (founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform), Rick Ungar (SIRIUS XM host and Forbes writer) and Katie Walsh (chief of staff for the Republican National Committee). Moderator: John Steiner, Mediators Foundation
  • 4 p.m. – Meet and greet

Wednesday, July 20

  • Noon-12:15 p.m.– Purple America intro
  • 12:15-1 p.m. – Keynote
  • 1-2:30 p.m. – Engaging Millennials: Advocacy and Influence in the Digital Age with Facebook and Twitter. How can millennials use social media to foster a more civil dialogue?
    Katie Harbath (global politics and government outreach director for Facebook), Sam Osborne (first-ever digital operations director for the Republican National Convention) and Sara Tabatabaie (digital director for Rock the Vote)
  • 2:45-4 p.m. – Polling and Media: Bias in numbers and in the media: The media can promote extremism, hatred and panic to the public, but can it also lead us to greater civility and more productive debate? What you need to know about what’s behind those polling numbers?
    Kellyanne Conway (pollster with the Trump campaign), Kevin Cirilii (Bloomberg reporter and former political reporter for The Hill), David Webb (Sirius XM host) and Cliff Young (president of U.S. public affairs at Ipsos)
  • 4 p.m. – Meet and greet

Learn more about Kent State’s College of Communication and Information

Learn more about Purple America