‘Braver Angels’ Style as Students Discuss Student Loan Forgiveness

Ohio — All this week, we’ve been sharing stories about politics across Ohio that we’ve been telling through our Braver Angels efforts.


What you need to know

  • Argument issues can often escalate into shouting and personal attacks
  • University of Cincinnati students agreed to use Braver Angels rules to discuss student loan forgiveness
  • Side didn’t change stance but kept polite for Braver Angels format

This story showcases some of the Braver Angels discussions. We asked a student volunteer at the University of Cincinnati and his Professor Eugene Rutz, a professor there and a member of his Braver Angels, to discuss his four topics using the rules of the Braver Angels.

These rules include 1) listen first and then speak, 2) don’t try to change the other person’s mind, and 3) don’t assume that everyone in the group thinks the same.

Divide students into red and blue teams. This example focuses on the issue of government student loan forgiveness. Professor Lutz opened the discussion by addressing the “Blue” team. So why do you think this is a good idea for the blue team?”

“Blue” team member Mackenzie Collette, part of UC’s class of 2024, first said: However, over the years it has rapidly changed to a method that really prevents us from investing in other things, such as putting a down payment on a car or a house, or saving for our children’s college. and minority individuals. Women borrow more for college than men, and minorities borrow more for college than whites. And I think that’s the important thing. Equity in education. And you can quote somewhere that all the founders of our country say something about the value of education, the importance of education. Although we may not have intended to, the people we are certainly included in will be the people we are now. And we deserve equal access to education. ”

It’s time for “Red” team member Jaden Walton, part of UC’s class of 2025, to respond with his take on education and finance. I grew up very poor and I am a Pell grantee. So I am going through these struggles where I had to get student loans etc. to pay for my education. I was able to get there by walking, working a side job, and working weekends.

Tanmay Srivastava, UC’s Class of 2025 ‘Blue’ team member, offered a different take while paying tribute to Walton’s experience. However, there are many graduate education students who want to start small businesses to facilitate their work and growth. Many of them are unable to start a business due to loans. ”

At this point, you may be thinking, “This conversation has some good points, but the speaker isn’t using them!” That’s true of many of our political talks. Remember, students and Professor Lutz are modeled after Braver Angels style discussions.The main goal is to listen to understand the other side. The more we can listen and show that respect, the easier it will be to share our thoughts on issues such as student loan forgiveness.

Alyssa Baker, UC’s Class of 2025 ‘Red’ team member, brought a new perspective to the discussion. I happily took out student loans. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be required to pay student loans that I wasn’t forced into. ”

This prompted Collette to acknowledge her “red” team experience and offered her own perspective on student loans. For many, it is not a spontaneous choice. It’s a double-edged sword between being able to get an education, being able to get into the career you want to pursue, being able to make a good life for yourself, and, frankly, being able to do nothing. So it’s great to feel that it was a voluntary choice, but for many it’s not a voluntary choice. can not. And the reason this is important is fairness. Certainly some people don’t need it, but it’s amazing. Many people do. And just because someone doesn’t have that kind of financial background doesn’t mean they should be barred from getting an education.

Baker acknowledged Colette’s point, but left her concerns alone. Where will this precedent lead in the future? It’s just gonna keep thinking about this free money coming out where nothing is really free. I think we have all learned. ”

Then it was time for Professor Rutz to conclude the session. Congratulations to all. ”

You may see your opinion reflected in this debate. You might also think that one speaker is “better” than another. However, rather than a flaw in the exercise, Braver Angels’ debating style in this student-loan conversation mirrors how we conduct these discussions in real life. In the end, no one changed their minds. But all four of her team members listened to each other, judging, calling names, and yelling at each other to provide a heartfelt perspective. This way of discussing politics may not be standard, but it may be a “brave” style for listening and learning from each other about the country’s most pressing issues.

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