Feb 212012
 
Authors: Allison Sylte

To facilitate discussion among the CSU community regarding the divisive on-campus stadium proposal, the university has announced an initial series of 10 public forums for students, faculty and community members to vent their opinions about the project.

The forums will be administered by the Center for Public Deliberation (CPD), an impartial organization focused on improving the quality of public communications and community problem-solving.

“We only pick issues where it’s clear there are good arguments on both sides,” said Martin Carcasson, the founder and director of the CPD and an associate professor in the Department of Communication.

Carcasson was first approached to play a role in the stadium process by CSU President Tony Frank on Jan. 20, after Frank told Carcasson that he felt the stadium issue had created a negative level of division in the community.

“At that point, I was a little nervous, thinking that maybe the issue had gotten a bit too polarized,” Carcasson said. “But after they made it clear that a decision had not yet been made, I got on board. They’ve given me complete control about how to do this and that we’re entirely independent.”

The CPD is comprised of roughly 30 students, who apply to the Center and receive extensive training. Each semester, Carcasson said 15 new students are admitted, and 15 to 25 veteran students continue their work at the CPD.

In the past, the CPD has worked on cases ranging from higher education, to changing structure in the Poudre Valley School District, to water rights issues.

“I wanted to get involved because the CPD has such a great number of projects for the community and really helps people communicate better,” said junior communications major Fiona Jeppson, who has worked for the CPD for three semesters. “It really helps people tackle some really big issues, and really tough issues, that people think are just hard to talk about.”

Each of the 10 forums will include a presentation by Carcasson regarding some of the different facts and opinions about the stadium proposal, followed by small-group discussions facilitated by the CPD’s student associates.

During this process, the CPD will take note of the different opinions about the proposal, and ultimately present their observations regarding the public discussions to the stadium planning committee.

“We don’t assume that the people who attend our forums are going to find a middle ground or necessarily change their opinion very much,” Carcasson said. “However, they will leave understanding the opposite opinion more.”

The CPD conducts its services free of charge, however, during the stadium discussion process, it will receive compensation from the university to hire a few students for data entry and for the cost of hosting the forums.

All of the findings from the CPD forums will be posted cpd.colostate.edu.

The first forum is scheduled for Thursday from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. Interested attendees can RSVP via http://col.st/zdOW3k.

“We need people who are undecided about the stadium to come,” Carcasson said. “It’s a safe place for them to come and hear the discussion floating around the issue.”

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Schedule for public forums:

All forums require an RSVP at http://col.st/zdOW3k.

• Thursday Feb. 23 from 4:15-6:15 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Thursday Feb. 23 from 7-9 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Monday Feb. 27 from 4:15-6:15 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Monday Feb. 27 from 7-9 p.m. in the Cherokee Park Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Saturday March 3 from 9-11 a.m. in the West Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Saturday March 3 from noon-2 p.m. in the West Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Tuesday March 6 from 4:15-6:15 p.m. in the West Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Tuesday March 6 from 7-9 p.m. in the West Ballroom in the Lory Student Center
• Wednesday March 7 from 4:15-6:15 p.m. at the Drake Centre on 802 West Drake Road
• Wednesday March 7 from 7-9 p.m. at the Drake Centre on 802 West Drake Road

 Posted by at 1:32 pm

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