Dr. Alisha Menzies, assistant professor in Communication, championed a fascinating discussion on the burden of moral culpability faced by the famous few. She asked: “Should we hold what celebrities and public figures say to a higher moral standard? Are their communication mistakes worth more?” The conversation spanned a great distance, first attempting to define which celebrities had a greater obligation than others. One student wondered whether professional athletes should have opinions of the same weight as political figureheads; another scholar questioned the impact of words versus actions (i.e. the Colin Kaepernick protest). Dr. Menzies funneled the discussion through various relevant scandals, from the Valium-induced tweets of Roseanne Barr to Megyn Kelly’s blackface scandal. Unfortunately, time was called before we could shift focus to unpacking rapper Kanye West! Overall, it was an intriguing look into the standards we hold celebrities to and, in turn, the standards we hold ourselves to.
On Friday, September 22nd, roughly 15 Honors students joined Dr. Kevin Fridy in the McKay Hall common room for a coffee conversation. In this more intimate setting, the students discussed, “How are power, privilege, and politics reflected in disaster vulnerability?” Over coffee, tea, and muffins, the students engaged in a conversation about the topic, which was tied directly to the recent experiences all of the participants had with Hurricane Irma.