On February 22 at 8:30 pm, Albrecht Lounge was crowded with students eager to hear President Ferry’s opinion on a particular topic: diversity.
Though many had come to hear his views, Ferry was wary of lecturing. Instead, he was more interested in hearing the students’ perspective.
“I don’t want this to be me telling you the way it is,” Ferry said.
Ferry said the “political year” of 2016 as a reason he felt the forum was necessary.
“It’s a political year and social issues are being placed before us all the time… It makes sense to talk about some things, ” he said.
“If you’re a Republican, you’ve got to think this way,” said Ferry as he held up his right arm.
“if you’re a Democrat, you’ve got to think this way,” He said, raising his left arm.
Ferry discussed the erosion of political diversity in what it means to be a Lutheran. According to Ferry, someone’s view on something like gun control shouldn’t determine whether or not someone is seen as a Lutheran.
Ferry also discussed political polarization, using the Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s famous friendship with his fellow Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a positive example of being able to disagree but avoid hating one another. and
Ferry said that he himself was feeling conflicted about immigration.
Seeing the CUW President unsure about where he stood on a particular issue seemed to make other students comfortable enough to come forward with their own struggles.
The first student to speak up said he primarily voted Democrat but felt uncomfortable discussing his political views with others on campus because of the hostile reactions he has experienced.
Student Government Association President Steven Stiller said that students had come to him to establish a college democrats club on campus but not without a great deal of hesitation and anxiety.
Ferry said he thought this should be allowed.
“I think diversity rounds people out. We’re fed a lot of negativity through media. When you actually meet someone that’s different, be it race, religion [or] sexuality you see they’re just people,” said Stiller.
This is likely the first of many student-faculty discussions on pertinent issues.