LB’s Civil Discourse Program: Where Controversy Gets Cordial

Welcome to LBCC!  As you explore all that our college has to offer, I’d like to provide some info on a co-curricular program many former students report as being a highlight of their college experience.  

LBCC’s Civil Discourse Program aims to create opportunities for individuals with different viewpoints to come together and discuss controversial topics in a respectful manner. We do this with online debates, point/counterpoint op-eds, and our civil discourse whiteboard. In each of these activities, we make a good-faith attempt for authentic perspectives to be expressed, understood, and examined by others.  Disagreement and debate often occur, but with a constructive spirit. The focus isn’t on defeating an opponent or point of view, but instead on sharing honest thoughts and reactions. Exchanges are about understanding, not persuasion. 

College can often feel lonely and stressful. Having a group to spend time with outside of the classroom can make it much more enjoyable. I’ve watched friendships develop between students who likely wouldn’t have had much interaction without our program. Seeing people find a kind of community they previously couldn’t imagine is one of my greatest joys as an advisor. 

I also love observing students develop into leaders through our work together. Past members have collaborated with national organizations to create, organize, and facilitate civil discourse events at LBCC. Many have reported that the skills they developed through our program have helped them become successful in their current professions.

It’s a shame that, far too often, people feel they can’t talk about controversial topics without being attacked. If there’s any place in society where people should actively discuss, debate, and explore hot-button issues, it’s on a college campus. While it can feel like a risk, it often results in a reward. We invite you to join us!

If you’re interested in joining Civil Discourse or simply learning more, contact Mark Urista at