Symposium Against Indifference

Today’s ever-evolving world calls for open dialogues to facilitate conversation and promote change.

The College of Arts & Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement.

The Symposium Against Indifference seeks to challenge the Ashland University community and the wider Ashland community toward a deeper understanding of difficult affairs in order to encourage creative personal and corporate responses.

2019-2020 Symposium: Liberty & Responsibility

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing and protecting women’s right to vote, along with the ratification and appeal of the 18th Amendment prohibiting liquor — the 2019 2020 theme of “Liberty & Responsibility” seeks to understand and find productive responses to the constant and unavoidable tension between liberty and responsibility.

Index of Events

Low-Cost Improvements to Air Quality Measurements - Thur. Jan 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Ronk Lecture Hall, Schar College of Education
Presenter: Dr. Andrew May

Across the U.S., air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act are monitored at fixed location sites, and based on these measurements, the majority of the U.S. does not experience air quality issues. However, these measurement sites may be sparsely distributed. Dr. May will discuss two of his projects that seek to address this issue by providing data with improved measurements in areas where people live, work, and play using low cost sensors. These projects include deploying sensors on a transit bus to provide regular, repeated measurements in an urban environment and collaborating with high schools near Columbus, Ohio, to establish a network of sensors throughout the local community. This improved spatial resolution provides better estimates of localized air pollutant concentrations and is an example of society’s application of laws and policies to better protect children, the elderly, and other groups who may be more sensitive to poor air quality.

Co-Sponsored by the Environmental Science Program

POLITICAL ECONOMY: A Panel Discussion - Wed., Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.

Heritage Room, Myers Convocation Center
Presenters: Jon L. Pritchett and Signè Thomas

Do firms, an essential component of the free market, have any social responsibility beyond maximizing profits? Is it enough that they simply do no harm to society? Or do they have a responsibility to do some good? Together with the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and Conscious Capitalism, the Ashland University Political Economy Program will host a panel discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility. The panel will consist of Jon L. Pritchett, President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy; Signè Thomas, Project Director for the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University; and will be moderated by the AU Political Economy Director, Dr. Greg McBrayer.

Carrie Chapman Catt: A Living History Performance of Her Woman’s Suffrage Story - Mon., Mar. 2 at 7 p.m.

Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium

Carrie Chapman Catt was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1920 when the 19th amendment became part of the United States Constitution. This performance will highlight the early efforts occurring long before Catt became involved in women’s rights, along with her own part of the woman suffrage story. Presented in a Chautauqua format, the performance by Dr. Deleasa Randall Griffiths, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, will begin with a pre-show slide presentation on the suffrage movement with music to orient the audience to the theme and context while serving as a lead into the performance which includes three parts:

  1. An in character monologue
  2. An in character Q&A session with the audience
  3. An out of character Q&A to cover broader topics, including controversial aspects of suffrage work, and things that occurred after Catt’s death.

The Lives of Others: A Film Screening & Panel Discussion - Wed., Mar. 18 at 6 p.m.

Heritage Room
Myers Convocation Center

The Lives of Others is an Oscar Winning Film about a member of the East German Secret Police (Stasi), conducting surveillance on a writer and an actress, and finding himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. It is a beautiful, tragic story about life under tyrannical government. The film will be followed by an audience discussion of the film with Maura Grady, Department of English; Rene Paddags and Greg McBrayer, Department of History & Political Science.

Grace Jo: North Korean Defector - Thur., Mar. 19 at 7 p.m.

Alumi Room
Myers Convocation Center

Grace Jo, a defector of the brutal Kim regime in North Korea, was born in North Korea and lost most of her family to tyranny and starvation before escaping to China, later resettling in the United States. “My life completely changed after I came to America,” she said. “I think that’s called freedom. It’s a very cherished thing for my family and for me.” Grace became a U.S. citizen in 2013. Grace will share her personal story of survival with the campus and wider Ashland community

Enrigue Altimari: Venezuelan Pro-democracy Advocate - Mon., Mar. 23 at 7 p.m.

Heritage Room
Myers Convocation Center

Almost twenty years before populism made the European and American scene, Hugo Chávez won elections to become president of Venezuela democratically. Enrique Altimari, a dissident and critic of his native Venezuela, will explore the downfall of the Venezuelan democracy and will describe the coordinates of the regime’s ideology. He will focus on lessons learned from the process and warn against the use of reductive ideologies and populist-messianic politics.

VÁCLAV HAVEL’S RHETORIC OF TRUTH - Thur., Mar. 26 at 7 p.m.

Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium
Presenter: Flagg Taylor

Václav Havel, one of the leaders of the Charter 77 movement in Communist Czechoslovakia, was an astute analyst of how an ideological tyranny sought to dissuade its inhabitants from being truth seekers in their everyday lives. In this lecture, Flagg Taylor will consider Havel’s arguments, discuss how he sought to encourage truth seeking through his essays and plays, and consider what lessons Havel’s writings might have for us today

Previous Symposium Themes

  • Holocaust - 2001

  • Human Nature - 2003

  • Terrorism - 2005

  • The Promises and Perils of Technology - 2007

  • Inquiry Into What Makes a Hero - 2009

  • Against Global Indifference - 2011

  • Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean - 2013

  • Environmental Sustainability - 2015

  • Building Bridges Through Dialogue - 2017

Contact Us

Tricia Applegate
Communications Coordinator, College of Arts & Sciences
149 Center for the Arts