Volume 20

Do Universities Need Choreographed Disagreement?

by Jeffrey Adam Sachs

Alarmed by a supposed decline in civil debate and increased polarization on campus, colleges and universities are establishing programs committed to the promotion of “choreographed disagreement.” This is a highly stylized and rulebased form of disagreement, one that proponents believe will help students to better engage in civil and constructive debate. However, these programs come with apparent risks that are rarely acknowledged, let alone discussed. This article considers these risks and argues that choreographed disagreement is illsuited to accomplish the objectives it is meant to secure.

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