Dean Michele Moody-Adams addressed the topic, “Whatever Happened to Civil Disagreement?” and led a lively (but civil) question and answer session before an audience of more than 150 alumni and guests on May 24 at the Columbia Alumni Association’s fifth annual Spring Faculty Lecture at NYC’s Morgan Library. The evening, which was emceed by CAA Chair and University Trustee James Harden ’78 Business, ’83 PH, began with a reception and included tours of the Morgan Library and Museum.
Moody-Adams noted that while political disagreement seems to have become less civil in recent times, such as the instance of a congressional representative shouting “You lie!” during a Presidential State of the Union address, such discourse has a lengthy history, and has included incidents involving Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Often, Moody-Adams noted, such disagreement may have seemed less abrasive in the past because it was delivered in humorous fashion, and she twice quoted Winston Churchill as examples.
Moody-Adams, who is completing her second year as dean of the College, also is the University’s vice president for undergraduate education, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor and the Joseph Strauss Professor of Moral Philosophy. She taught at Wellesley, Rochester, Indiana and Cornell before coming to Columbia in July 2009.