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'Trump Talk' series seeks to open campus dialogue

Top Emory scholars will lead “Trump Talk: First 100 Days,” a three-part dialogue series that aims to advance conversations about President Donald Trump's actions on religion, health care, immigration, race, economics and LGBTQ issues. (Official photo)

Top Emory scholars will draw from their own expertise to lead “Trump Talk: First 100 Days,” a three-part dialogue series that aims to advance conversations on religion, health care, immigration, travel bans, race and economics, and LGBTQ issues.

Sponsored by Emory’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, the dialogue series is open to faculty, staff and students. Attendance will be limited to 75 participants, who must commit to attending all three sessions.

Registration, which opens this week, is required and already filling quickly. Meeting locations will be announced next month.

Lynell Cadray, vice provost of equity and inclusion, says the series was prompted, in part, by requests her office has been receiving since last November’s presidential election to launch a campus dialogue about changes unfolding across the national landscape.

“Now that we’re winding down the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency — which has given him the opportunity to make decisions and for us to see his policies in action — it’s an opportune time to be reflective about topics that will impact our entire community and the world around us,” Cadray says.

“The goal is to share knowledge and to generate a real dialogue,” she adds.

Sessions include the following:

Monday, April 10, 3:30-5 p.m.

  • Trump and Religion: Ellen Ott Marshall, associate professor, Candler School of Theology
  • Trump and LGBTQ Issues: Tim Holbrook, professor of law, Emory School of Law

Monday, April 17, 3:30-5 p.m.

  • Trump and Immigration/Trump and Travel Bans: Polly Price, dean of faculty affairs and professor of law, Emory School of Law
  • Trump and Economics: Paul Rubin, acting chair and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics, Emory College 

Monday, April 24, 3:30-5 p.m.

  • Trump and Health Care: Linda McCauley, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
  • Trump and Race: Andra Gillespie, director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, associate professor of political science, Emory College

Faculty speakers were selected for expertise within their respective topics. 

“The conversations are intended to give a status update on where things sit with his policies and how they will impact us as individuals and as a community — that will be key,” Cadray says.

Holbrook, who will lead a discussion about LGBTQ issues, says the series will offer an opportunity to explore “really, complex difficult issues” through a forum grounded in mutual respect. 

At the moment, “there is a lot of misinformation out there,” Holbrook says. “This offers a chance for us to talk about how these issues affect our community and Emory, produce dialogue that can help strip away a lot of the rhetoric on both sides, and have a substantial discussion that helps bridge gaps and brings people together.” 

Participants are asked to commit to attending all sessions “because we want people to be educated on all of the issues, to have a full understanding of how those issues connect and impact us,” Cadray says.

“When you leave, you should feel much more empowered to engage with the issues knowing the facts — information important in today’s political climate,” she adds.

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