Undergraduate students from the NSU Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences presented a workshop on the weight of offensive words at the annual Diversity Summit, hosted by the South Florida Diversity Alliance and held at NSU on Nov. 8. More than 100 students from Broward County high schools attended the event.
Titled “Examining Words That Wound: What Rhetoric Can Teach About Everyday Language,” the workshop aimed to expose the damaging effects language can have on an individual’s sense of self. The students highlighted how the misuse of language can create a sense of worthlessness in young people. The workshop’s underlying message: think before you speak.
The students who presented are enrolled in the college’s first-year-student seminar UNIV 1012D Words That Wound: The Ethics of Language Use, led by Kelly Concannon Mannise, Ph.D., assistant professor at the college. The fall course has examined tensions between freedom of speech and hate speech, as presented in popular culture and media. In line with the current academic theme, students in the course have critically assessed the relationships between the ethical use of language and actions identified as “good” and “evil.”