Online 'Don’t Hate – Debate (And Vote)!' Teach-In Designed to Inform and Empower Voters

The coming election is an important one, and voters – particularly first-time voters – are navigating a challenging landscape of information, misinformation, PACs, bots, memes, toxic debates and inflamed rhetoric.

“Don’t Hate – Debate (And Vote)!” is an all-day teach-in event held via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 23, beginning at 10 a.m.

Teach-in topics will touch on many aspects of the elections, politics, political/social polarization and civil discourse. Each segment will be about 15 minutes long (some longer, some shorter) and will have a period of 10-15 minutes afterward for questions and discussion.

A full schedule of topics is posted on the website Some of the engaging presentations you can look forward to attending include “Voting: The Cure for COVID-19,” “Fashion on Election Day: What to Wear to Cast Your Vote,” “Taking a Knee to the Next Level: Athletes, Activism and the 2020 Election” and “You’ve Tweeted Your Politics – Now What?”

Stephanie Smith, an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism, and Paul Haridakis, Ph.D., professor and interim director of the School of Communication Studies, have worked together to promote the event to the Kent State community. They have invited everyone to participate and also collected and curated the proposals to make sure they were well aligned with the event.

Teach-ins have happened on Kent State’s campuses before.

"Since the 1960s, teach-ins have been powerful and empowering ways for people to come together to examine, discuss and peacefully debate the great issues of their times,” Smith said.

Response to the event has been enthusiastic, and Smith reports that the teach-in has been embraced by faculty, staff and students who have sent in a “bounty of great proposals.”

“Kent State was part of that tradition then and is now reimagining the teach-in through the reach of technology,” Smith said. “We believe in the power of ideas and the enduring importance of civil discourse. We look forward to an event that features the vibrant voices of students, faculty and staff."

This online event, which is free and open to the entire Kent State community, is sponsored by the College of Communication and Information, the School of Peace and Conflict Studies, the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Academic Affairs.

Lashonda Taylor, executive director of University Events and Protocol, the Division of Student Affairs, and University Communications and Marketing have also assisted in event creation and promotion.

To register to attend and see the schedule of presentation topics, visit

POSTED: Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 11:19am
UPDATED: Sunday, October 25, 2020 - 11:32am
Phil B. Soencksen