HUSC General Assembly April 4th Recapped: Student leader stipend and Repectful Conversations

“Student Org Leader Stipends Resolutions” proposed by the External President Emily Hilderbrand and co-signed by Internal President Maddie Swanson and Secretary Sydney Hubbard. Passed with flying colors.

Eliza Hagstrom, Guest Reporter

Joan Haan and Johanna Osman are Lead Facilitators for ‘Respectful Conversations Project’, they were invited by Rev. Dr. Kelly Figueroa-Ray to come to talk to students about what has happened at Hamline this semester. The goal was to encourage and prompt respectful conversations across campus and the Hamline community. 

Respectful Conversations is an idea/process spearheaded by the Minnesota Council of Churches initiative. It is a 3 hour event with a meal and a neutral facilitator. It is a process designed to build empathy, soften hearts and deepen understanding of sound divisive issues. 

The whole program is based around small group conversations, with no more than 7 people at a table sharing a meal. 

“Safe space and brave space” is a place to move beyond mere tolerance to healing. 

No problem to solve in this format, the structure forces listening upon people and that they are not allowed to react in the moment. An opportunity for questions of genuine curiosity follows once everyone at the table has had a chance to speak. 

Open window vs. a slammed door, coming in with an argument or something similar is not the goal. Building empathy and understanding is the main goal. 

Table facilitators will first be trained, and stipends are available for them, and they value everyone’s time with the facilitators being paid and a meal available. The facilitators are not participants, they have a script and they will be watching to make sure it is not a debate rather than a dialogue. 

There are multiple opportunities and dates that this group will be holding. This process/request was put in around the start of the semester and it has been a slow process to get them here. A campus-wide event and they hope that. Diversity at each table will be ensured, so no table will all students, staff or faculty. Diversity in the broadest sense.