About us

Wet Talk logoThe purpose of We Talk is to foster a campus culture of responsible and respectful civic, social, political and policy engagement. We seek to raise awareness about free speech protections and promote the value of respecting viewpoint diversity as part of the academic setting and learning environment.

We Talk '22 is designed to build upon We Talk programming held in 2021 and will focus on building our skill sets and providing academic tools for having difficult conversations. 

We Talk program development is guided by the principles and practices of the Heterodox Academy, which is focused on improving the quality of research and education in universities by increasing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity,
and constructive disagreement. Your donation can help provide vital support to this initiative. 

Donate to We Talk


Stop hate speech graphicHaters gonna hate? Responding intelligently to hate speech

2 p.m., January 26
Lee Honors College Lounge
Hate speech refers to a broad range of expression of discriminatory hatred towards people. How can we recognize hate speech and better respond to it? Join us for this conversation about the parameters of hate speech, what is/is not covered by U.S. free speech protections, and how to better manage your reactions and responses to hate speech. Attendance eligible for Signature credit. Learn more.



Moving Conversations at WMU event Dec. 10Learn to be a better listener in this 40-minute, script-guided exercise between two people designed to facilitate compassion and connection. Developed by Dr. Doug Lepisto, the exercise is built upon principles of positive psychology and can be facilitated in classes, with groups and at home with family and friends. Learn more.




Social Media on Campus: Advantageous, Addictive, or All of the Above?
7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 27
Social media has fundamentally altered our lives—and campus life is no exception. How is social media changing the student and faculty experience? What role does it play in hindering or promoting nuanced conversations in and out of the classrooms? And recognizing that social media is here to stay, how can we ensure that we use it in healthy and productive ways that enrich and expand campus dialogues in the future?



Public Media Network studio panelThe changing role of media in a free society: listen, learn and speak out 

We invited local media representatives to share their views on the role the media plays in civil discourse, free speech and social dynamics in this panel discussion broadcast by Public Media Network on August 18. Stream it here.

Panelists: Sue Ellen Christian, moderator, professor of communication and Presidential Innovation Professor; Mickey Ciokajlo, local news editor, MLive.com; Buddy Hannah, retired radio host, community storyteller; Aya Miller, editor-in-chief, Western Herald


Civil discourse begins with a personal understanding of interactions we have with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.  We need "tools for talking when the stakes are high. Western Michigan University is a member of the Heterodox Academy, an international organization that aspires to create college classrooms and campuses that welcome diverse people with diverse viewpoints and that equip learners with the habits of heart and mind to engage that diversity in open inquiry and constructive disagreement.  

Enjoy this thought-provoking Intentional Dialogue Guide about the difference between understanding and agreement.

Also available is the Bridging Difference Playbook, offering research-based strategies to promote positive dialogue and understanding.


Cover, Don't Label Me by Irshad ManjiDon't Label Me: How To Do Diversity Without Inflaming The Culture Wars. The most recent book of our fall keynote speaker, Irshad Manji. 

The fall 2020 We Talk common read was "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion," by Jonathan Haidt. Learn more. 

Talk to us

Would you like to get involved in the We Talk movement? To receive our mailings register here, or use the Contact Us form to communicate with us.

WMU is a member of the Heterodox Academy Higher Ed Leadership Community. The mission of Heterodox Academy is to improve the quality of teaching and research by increasing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement.

       Heterodox Academy logo

 You can help

We Talk is made possible in large part through grants and private donations from those who support the cause of free speech, civil discourse and viewpoint diversity. We welcome your donation via the link below or inquiries about how you can help by sending an email to: wetalk@wmich.edu