On the front page of the Villanovan this week, 10 students shared their reactions to the results of the 2016 election. We want to thank each of them for voicing their opinions. Speaking out is not an easy task to do given the current political climate. They were honest and brave.

These students are an example of what we can all do to foster a better, safer Villanova.  Whether or not we agree, it is important to have the courage and confidence to stand behind our ideas and share them with one another in a peaceful, understanding manner. 

These conversations are going to be uncomfortable. 

But as we’re taught from day one at ‘Nova, we must lean into discomfort.

We aren’t going to move forward without understanding other side’s motivations. Oftentimes, deep motivations get oversimplified. Reacting to such oversimplification makes it impossible for us to reach a common ground. 

We must approach these discussions as a dialogue, not a debate. Whereas a debate results in winners, a dialogue results in an informed understanding of another person’s perspective.  

We can have conversations about divisive or controversial topics with civility and candor. You can disagree with people and respect them at the same time. Practicing this skill now will prepare you for other instances in the future in which you must confront someone who has differing opinions than yourself. From friends to family to classmates to coworkers, people who disagree with you are bound to come up in your life. It is our responsibility to approach these people with open minds in order to understand where they are coming from and bridge the gaps among us that this election made apparent.