15 August · Episode 168
Nurturing Free Speech and Respectful Dialogue in Higher Education
40 Min · By Dr. Drumm McNaughton
Eric shares how faculty, staff, and students can approach free speech and respectful dialogue by conducting co-teaching practices and exercises.
Although higher ed as a whole believes in the importance of free speech, very few agree on what the free exchange of ideas looks like and how it should function on campus. But with the current hostile political and social climate, it’s now more important than ever for higher education to unite on what truly matters—protecting respectful dialogue and productive speech that leads to a better and kinder society.
In this podcast, Dr. Drumm McNaughton speaks with President Eric Hogue of Colorado Christian University on the topic of free speech in higher ed. Eric shares how students must approach disagreements to create a more forward-thinking society and, most significantly, how faculty, staff, and students should conduct themselves in public and in the classroom to elicit more mature behavior.
- Free speech is a constitutional right that’s an essential function of a democratic society. Free speech allows individuals to express their opinions, thoughts, and ideas without fear of censorship or persecution. A complete college education dives into understanding this right. Such an education also empowers students not to be swayed by the ideologies of the moment but to compare new ideas against centuries of accrued knowledge.
- The free exchange of ideas works best when exercised with respect, maturity, positive behavior, and decorum. But society has lost respect for each other and the ability to agree to disagree.
- Higher ed needs students to look at disagreements from the mind perspective—how we think about issues—and combine it with their heart perspective. This allows students to see arguments from other people’s views. Higher ed needs students, faculty, and staff to build resilience by realizing they are not a victim in every situation, everything isn’t a crime, disagreements don’t impinge on rights or freedoms, and if someone is different from them, that doesn’t make them evil people who must be silenced. Higher ed must always be in pursuit of truth, even though it might be categorized as “my” truth or “your” truth.
- Colorado Christian University employs co-teaching practices where faculty with opposing views debate each other on topics in front of students. The students are more attentive and engaged when this happens. CCU also has a moot court, and the practicum is to learn how to create an argument. Sometimes, the assignment is to create an argument from a different perspective. Students learn that they disagree with topics, not the people they debate, and that if somebody doesn’t wholly agree with them, they’re not evil or don’t need to be silenced.
About Our Podcast Guest
Eric Hogue was named president of Colorado Christian University by the Board of Trustees in March 2023 and took office in June 2023. Hogue previously served as vice president of University Advancement for CCU.
Hogue has a strong affinity for Christian higher education, having earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Jessup University.
He brings a deep knowledge of CCU to his new role. Since 2018, Hogue has served as vice president of University Advancement, directing a comprehensive fundraising program totaling more than $45 million, including $33.5 million for the Armstrong Center Campaign. He launched a $44 million Science Center Campaign, established the CCU Endowment Foundation to prioritize the rapid and sustained growth of future resources for the University, and birthed the CCU Fund and Hope Fund, which will raise $1.5 million annually for student scholarships.
Before joining CCU, Hogue served for six years as the chief development officer of Jessup University, where he tripled JU’s endowment fund and navigated two successful campus capital development campaigns.
Hogue is known for his roles as a former political candidate; practicing theologian and pastor; and long-tenured radio, television, and media professional. He is the author of The Winning Side of the Ask: The Heart and Skills of the Donor-Centric Professional Fundraiser, a book dedicated to helping nonprofits design a thriving philanthropic culture.
His wife, Tammy, is an award-winning educator who has been deeply shaped by her experience in Christ-centered higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Jessup University. She also holds a multiple-subject teaching credential with a supplemental credential in business. Eric and Tammy have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.
About the Host
Transcript: Changing Higher Ed Podcast 168 with Host Dr. Drumm McNaughton and Guest Eric Hogue
Welcome to Changing Higher Ed, a podcast dedicated to helping higher education leaders improve their institutions, with your host, Dr. Drumm McNaughton, CEO of the Change Leader, a consultancy that helps higher ed leaders holistically transform their institutions. Learn more at changinghighered.com. And now, here’s your host, Drumm McNaughton.
Drumm McNaughton 00:31
Thank you, David. My guest today is Eric Hogue, who recently assumed the presidency at Colorado Christian University. His higher ed background is in advancement both at CCU and Jessup University. His path to higher ed is different than most. Before coming on board to higher ed, he was in politics, a pastor and theologian, and a long-tenured radio, television, and media professional.
Higher ed is struggling to define free speech and censorship (i.e., what is free speech, academic freedom, who can speak, and what is the respectful way to do that?) Many on the right believe there’s a trend at college campuses to curb free speech and limit free expression in the name of social justice, whereas the left feels they’re being more honest by bringing in context to their conversations.
As you might guess, Eric joins me today to talk about free speech, its importance, and, especially, what we need to do to encourage free speech that is respectful and productive, something we’re not seeing a lot in our nation lately. Eric, welcome to the show.
Eric Hogue 01:42
Drumm, it’s great to be with you today.
Drumm McNaughton 01:44
It’s my pleasure. Before we kick off, it’s going to be a great discussion on free speech on campus and academic freedom. But I have to tell you, you have one of the best radio voices I’ve ever heard.
Eric Hogue 01:56
Well, Drumm, compliments will get you everything in a podcast interview like this, but there isn’t authentic representation for the listeners. If we had a video component, they would see the other side of the positive. Radio voice, yes. But not a TV face. Definitely a radio face. That’s okay.
Drumm McNaughton 02:15
I wouldn’t necessarily agree with you on that. You look quite the distinguished person that you’d expect from a university president.
Eric Hogue 02:23
You flatter me, Drumm. Thank you.
Drumm McNaughton 02:25
Well, let’s forget the flattery. We’re going to get down to it real quick. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Our listeners are interested to find out how you came to this position as university president as well as your position on free speech.
Eric Hogue 02:40
Ultimately, my largest segment of my background is in media. You referred to that at the top. I have 32 years in media with nearly 20 to 23 years in talk radio. I did some sports play by play. I was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, so I did big tenant work at the Ohio Valley Conference. I did some work in Pittsburgh at the KTL network with the team called the Penguins that play on ice. I then covered Michael Jordan’s rookie season in Chicago with the Bulls.
I did my undergrad work in Ohio and Illinois. I’ve been married 34 years. Tammy and I have two daughters. My oldest is 32. She’s married with two grandkids in Nebraska. My youngest is 30. She’s married with a grandson in California.
We left Ohio in 1999 and went to Sacramento, California. That was the thrust of my media career. We hung out there until I left media and entered the world of Christ-centered higher education. I took a job at Jessup University in Rocklin, California. I worked there for six and a half years, raising funds as the chief development officer. I then arrived at Colorado Christian University in 2018, and I’ve been here for six years. I was named president just last June. So I have some 65-66 days in my presidency at CCU.
Drumm McNaughton 03:59
Well, good luck with that. People ask me what I think about higher ed presidents. I say it’s the second most difficult job out there, the first being hospital CEOs who are dealing with life and death. At a private Christian college, people could say that’s a lot easier because you have a single focus. They may be right. But you have all the same challenges that a regular university does. You’re running a small city.
Eric Hogue 04:28
You’re exactly right. We have 1,550 residential students. We have the equivalent of nearly 9,000 students if you include online and international students. So we have an online component that’s about 9,000. We have a traditional residential count of about 1,550 or 1,600. We also have CCU Academy, which is feeding the university with dual credit and associate degrees. So all said and done, we have 18,000 students.
We have a community, a workforce, and an organization. If you can go out of business, you’re in business. We’ve seen a lot of that happen over the past three, four, or five years. So this is a business. I’m much more of a CEO than I am a Ph.D. I believe that’s why we’re seeing more and more fundraisers. So I agree with you. It is a huge organization.
Drumm McNaughton 05:22
Coming in from a development perspective, you’re going to understand the fundraising and infrastructure aspects very well, but the academics are going to be new. So that creates a little bit of a different dynamic with faculty.
Eric Hogue 05:40
It’s funny. I just left two meetings here in my office talking about our Honors Program with two of our distinguished faculty members and with the dean of our school of theology, which is for our CCU online college. We call it the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Yeah, I think so, Drumm. I think that’s my learning curve.
But I have had traditional residential undergrad experiences, both at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Olivet Nazarene University. I also received a master’s online at Liberty University. So there’s your distance, digital experience.
When you’re talking about stewardship, the mindset of many universities these days, internally and externally, is looking at the operation, organization, company, and the divisions and factories inside of the university like a CEO. It is a business, and it has to be sustainable. It has to produce profit margins. So my learning curve will probably be in the academy. But on the outside, I will hopefully prayerfully navigate well and be the CEO.
Drumm McNaughton 06:51
Knowing you as I do, I suspect you will be. You also have one advantage over folks who come up through the academic ranks. You see this in terms of the end user versus the production.
Eric Hogue 07:04
Most definitely. The student is the customer. The student is purchasing the product or the products. The student wants to be mentored by faculty members that are excellent. In that line, the faculty work hard and need to be compensated accordingly. Then your schools need to be analyzed and to be measured with KPIs.
Smart measurements are important both for the employees and the schools and factories inside of the university. You need to be relevant to the marketplace without offering a drift in your core mission. In our case, it’s being an evangelical, conservative, Christ-centered university. But you still need to be relevant and innovative. And, again, you have to drive sustainability.
Drumm McNaughton 07:56
Just because you’re a nonprofit doesn’t mean you don’t have profits.
Eric Hogue 07:58
That’s exactly right.
Drumm McNaughton 08:01
You just call them different things. So let’s get to the crux of the conversation today, which is something I’m very passionate about and I know you are as well, having written on this before. And that is the importance of free speech on campus.
Let’s just forget academia for a moment. When we take a look around, the culture of the country has become very polarized. You see bad behaviors out there all the time. There are threats of violence if you don’t agree with us. You get people standing up in Congress at the State of the Union, yelling, “Liar.” Things like that, to me, are just antithetical; I have never experienced anything like this.
I came from a very conservative family myself. My mom and grandmother were teachers. My dad was a military officer and pilot on the Panama Canal. I have never seen this level of disrespect. How did we get here?
Eric Hogue 09:07
I don’t know if I can pinpoint how we arrived here. But the point that we currently arrest is definitely concerning and not good for the future of our culture. We have lost respect for each other. We have lost decorum in disagreeing with each other. I believe we’ve lost the ability to produce or at least locate statesmen and women in today’s society.
What’s the old adage? You put a frog in the kettle, turn up the heat, and pretty soon, the frog is boiling. Over time, it’s just grown hotter and hotter as we go. So the origin of this is probably political and in the external arena, which happens to be the freest expression of speech in our country.
But I also think there’s an educational component, which is what we’re going to talk about today. In higher ed, how can we describe what free speech is and how free speech behaves? And that’s the key. How does free speech behave?
Drumm McNaughton 10:08
I agree with you completely. It’s all about behaviors. Where did we lose that respect for other people? You and I have divergent opinions on certain things. We’ve talked about those before. But I respect you as a person. I know who you are, and you have a role that you play. That shouldn’t matter to me. What should matter is how we can communicate and see if we can find points of commonality where we agree and build from that.
Eric Hogue 10:51
The free exchange of ideas works best when it’s exercised with respect. We’ve lost that. That’s number one. We’ve lost respect for each other. We’ve also lost the ability to agree to disagree. I’ve heard some people say, “That’s a ridiculous statement.” I don’t know how that is a ridiculous statement. It’s the ability to be an individual. I don’t know if it’s “group think” or feeling like we need to group the people together that we need to convince, persuade, or cajole people to think the way we think so that we can actually enjoy lunch or dinner together. I don’t know where that came from.
I’ll be honest here and say that I come from a very conservative ideology. But I would enjoy a conversation with Joseph Lieberman. We probably would disagree on 30% to 40% of the issues that we might bring up. But I would enjoy the conversation. I would enjoy the debate. I would enjoy Senator Lieberman defending why he thinks about a certain issue and the reasons that he puts into that premise and conclusion. We can’t get there anymore.
It is unbelievable that we can’t be individuals and be comfortable in our skin to say, “This is how I look at the truth. This is how I think according to absolute truth. This is how I see this issue, and I’m representing my viewpoint and conduit of free speech.” But now it’s, “If you are different from me, then you must be evil, you must be bad, or you must be silenced.” That is not how this country was built.
Drumm McNaughton 12:25
No, not a bit. And I take a little exception to quote absolute truth because your absolute truth may be different from Joe Lieberman’s, mine, or anyone else’s. But that is our truth, and that’s how we believe. There’s nothing that says your truth is any better or any worse than my truth. It’s how we believe. How can we come together to be those statesmen like what you talked about?
Eric Hogue 12:57
I would certainly believe that Senator Lieberman would have his position of absolute truth, and I would have mine. So it would be Joe’s truth, and it would be Eric’s truth. But once we had a few minutes of going back and forth, we would need to get in a cul de sac and say, “Hey, Joe, we’re not getting anywhere. It’s okay. We’ve benefited from the conversation. Now, let’s benefit from the relationship. We’re going to agree to disagree on this one. What else do you want to talk about? I don’t hate you. I’m not against you. I’m not going to be violent. And I’m not going to commit some type of verbal hammer or ad hominem attack against you, Senator Lieberman. I’m just going to disagree with you. And I’m comfortable with that. And I can see that you are, too.”
So that conclusion is good. It’s healthy.
It’s funny, you asked me about academics and faculty, and I did have two of our professors in here a moment ago for our Augustine Honors Program. They have two faculty who teach this program here at CCU. Jason and Steve were in my office, and they said, “The best part about a two-faculty program is one goes with the cohort, the other comes in on the uncertain topic matter, and they teach together in the cohort in front of the students.” He said, “Sparks fly when we disagree.” He goes, “The students actually lift their heads up. They begin to take notes. There are smiles on their faces.” Our faculty members disagree on a point and may not agree in the end, but Steve said, “It’s just wonderful to watch them see adults and mentors with great pedigree and acumen with fantastic Christ-centered behavior disagree on the topic.” I say, Drumm, we need more of that in higher ed, please.
Drumm McNaughton 14:42
Absolutely. I fully agree. It’s a great way to teach critical thinking to people who are not always going to agree. I take a look at my wife, and there are a lot of things we don’t agree on. But we’ve been together for 23 years. So, obviously, we agree on the majority of things and have learned how to compromise on the rest. She’s a saint. She puts up with me. That’s always the most important thing right there.
Eric Hogue 15:11
Here’s your phrase, Drumm. She’s your better two-thirds. Tammy is mine. It’s just a given.
Drumm McNaughton 15:18
I’m the boss in the family. She tells me I can say that.
But anyway, looking at it from the faculty perspective, freedom of speech is an issue. One side says, “You’re trying to cancel us out.” The other side says, “We’re just teaching what we think is the right thing.” I remember my time in the classroom. I loved it. I’m a natural teacher. I just am. What I always remember doing was bringing up both sides of the argument. It’s imperative for faculty members to set that open discussion in the classroom to where you bring up both sides. Your view may or may not be the right view. Encourage a conversation. There were times when I would take a side that I didn’t agree with because somebody else wanted to take a different side and said, “Okay, let’s have a conversation about this.”
Eric Hogue 16:39
That should still be the practicum within our speech departments and speech teams. Here at CCU, we have a moot court, and the practicum is to learn how to create an argument. Sometimes the assignment is to create an argument from a different perspective. That takes a little bit of work. You’ll learn something in crafting an argument. You learn the disagreement is about the topic. It’s not with the person. The disagreement is the threat of conversation, opinion, or ideology. If somebody doesn’t wholly agree with you, they’re not evil or don’t need to be silenced.
There’s also a component of learning on how to engage in conflict. I am not a psychologist, although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last week. But I know that in today’s culture and society, a lot of people are afraid of conflict. They see it every night on TV when somebody has a different opinion. I’m not going to enter that arena. There are a lot of wonderfully gifted and prepared statesmen and women who won’t enter into politics because they say, “I don’t have any appetite for that. Nothing gets done. Nothing moves forward.” So we’re losing leadership. We’re losing an intellect. We’re losing our culture because we cannot agree to disagree. We don’t face conflict because conflict revolves around the issue or the topic and not with each other.
Drumm McNaughton 18:17
I think you’re spot on with that. When you take a look back at the political figures we had in the past, like the Edward Kennedys, the Joe Liebermans, and the John McCains, they reached across the aisle to find commonality. You take a look at campaign finance law. There was a Republican and Democrat who came across the aisle to make that work. Now, you don’t have those type of things except in a very limited sense. You don’t have the friendships that are built. Now, you’re a Republican or you’re a Democrat. So you’re the enemy, and I have to do everything I can to score points with my constituency. This is the example that we are showing our young people. It’s not the right thing.
Eric Hogue 19:11
There are two focus areas of our personhood that we might want to begin to talk about in higher ed. Those would be the mind and the heart. We need to look at disagreement from both our minds—how we think about issues—and combine it with our hearts. A lot of our debates stay in the mind or they stay in the logos. But they never enter the realm of the heart or we don’t get out of ourselves and see it from somebody else’s perspective.
There’s even a fear of doing that because your argument might get softer and your mind is telling you to stay hard. Stay hard. Stay in camp. Throw a stone. Call somebody a name. Label them. That’s the easiest, lowest common denominator process. It takes less work. Taking the high road is okay and saying, “I have two ears and one mouth. I’m going to listen a little bit closer. I’m going to come to a conclusion. I’m going to try to add my heart into the conversation. I bet we will still disagree in the end.” But my heart will say, “If Drumm and I have a disagreement, I still like you. Let’s go get a cup of coffee. Let’s engage in a conversation about our families, marriages, kids, and grandkids. Let’s get away from the heated rhetoric that we’re not going to agree on and see if we can agree on the fact that we like each other.” That is when the mind and heart is combined. Let’s teach that.
Drumm McNaughton 20:44
I agree. But you have a lot of people who are threatened by that. You brought up a great example of walking in somebody else’s shoes. I had one of my mentors who said, “You don’t know somebody until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.” Take a look at Black Lives Matter. There is no way that someone who has been raised in privileged white America will understand what black folks have had to go through over the years until they sit down, think about what’s going on, and have a conversation. One size does not fit all as much as many folks would like to think.
Eric Hogue 21:36
I understand the premise and definitely the issue. But even in our example, I might take issue with saying, “No way can Caucasian Eric Hogue understand the plight.” You can’t make that statement until you’ve listened to Eric Hogan and his relationship with the issue. I might have a surprise five-, eight-, or 10-year period of my life where I can say, “I can relate.” We make leaps. We do carte blanche blanket comments, and we come to conclusions over assumptions without not boiling down to the brass tacks of the issue.
I think free speech allows individuals to express their opinions, thoughts, and ideas without fear of censorship or persecution because of these broad brush strokes. Again, that creates fear, and you have trepidation about entering the discussion because something might be misconstrued, soundbite edited, stacked on, or embedded in a whole narrative that was never your intent. Now you’re taking somebody’s sincerity and using it against them to defend your argument and label them. Again, that is not hard to do, and that is not a remedy. But we have learned to do that because it’s lazy. It’s self-serving. It’s nothing but denigration of our culture when it comes to free speech.
Drumm McNaughton 23:15
It is. And thank you for calling me on it. That’s very good. I appreciate that. That is an example of a respectful conversation. I jumped on the ladder of inference. From a psychological perspective, we all know that our experiences cause us to take selected things and draw conclusions. So, that’s a great example. It comes from listening.
Until I’ve walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes, whether they be yours or not, I don’t necessarily know them. We don’t take the time to get to know people. We’re too concerned about getting that soundbite like you talked about. We’re concerned about our own quotes and reputations because these things go out via social media and the press, whatever. I’m going to use a term that’s controversial. We have to have safe zones, where we can have these conversations and not hold things against people for what they believe.
Eric Hogue 24:29
I would love to have a conversation about what a safe zone is. I’d be open to describing that. There are a lot of examples of that. In fundraising, there are always issues involving the IRS. That’s a different podcast for a different day. But there are always donors who are confused as to how they can get a deduction or not, and sometimes, it’s the VPA who has to give the bad news to the donor. That not only creates disagreement and conflict, but it involves money and philanthropy, which is a great identity for the donor.
Regarding safe zones, I might begin the conversation by saying something like we can’t receive the gift or we have to return the gift. I have done a few of those. I’m going to offer some content here. “Mr. or Mrs. Donor, that might sound like I’m accusing you of something, but I’m not. I’m in a situation where I have a duty to be compliant, not only to the IRS and the campaign but to the mission of my university. So, please, understand that this is not about you. This is about your donation only. So let’s enter this conversation about the $1.2 million gift. Let’s stay right there, and at the end, let’s see if you want to reconsider offering your philanthropy in a different way. If you are feeling you cannot continue with my organization or my university, let me know if I can help you place your donation somewhere else, and I’ll assist you with that.”
But in this case, we’re going to have your words, Drumm, a safe place. “We’re going to have an agreed-upon topic that’s going to be weighted and that you can easily take offense to. So promise me that you have a right not to be offended, and let’s enter the conversation from that perspective.” Every time that preamble or level set has been made, a tough conversation becomes a whole lot easier. Oh, they still get messy, Drumm, because of the human condition. But you come out on the other side with respect, not hatred.
Drumm McNaughton 26:38
Yeah. And you have to be able to do that. I’m thinking about a conversation that just happened recently in a classroom in Texas. One faculty member apparently said something, ended up being relieved, and then was put back in. Somebody reported that she had said something negative about Texas as the lieutenant governor. I mean, this is a classroom. It’s supposed to be a safe place where people can come in and express their opinions.
Faculty members need to be careful about these kinds of things because they are considered to be in a position of authority. So they need to model these good behaviors. But at the same time, you shouldn’t have to be able to go into a classroom thinking, “I have to censor my words because it might get reported to a political entity or whatever.”
Eric Hogue 27:39
Yep. I had an encounter with that particular situation with one of my faculty members when I was 14 years of age. My father said, “Eric, you do not behave that way. You don’t talk to adults that way. You must know the setting you’re in. Have some decorum. Have some respect. This person is your faculty member. This person is your pastor. This person is your grandfather.”
Let’s invert it. You’re a faculty member. These are students. They’re hoping you stay on the straight and narrow. They don’t want an agenda. They want an education. They want to know the truth, especially if they joined a university that identifies itself as an Evangelical, conservative, Christ-centered university. They made the choice to apply. When they were accepted, they knew exactly what they were entering. Know your atmosphere. You made the decision to enter, comply, and make a free association. So you’re now an 18- to 23-year-old. You’re going to have to grow up and realize you might have picked the wrong college or university. Change that, and you’ll find a different outcome. These are all mature behaviors that are never attached to the heart.
Drumm McNaughton 28:57
Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I love about residential undergraduate schools is they give people the ability to grow. For most folks, it’s their first time away from home for any length of time. Summer camp really doesn’t count. I’m sorry. I don’t care who says that. But they’re there. They’re there to learn and to integrate all of their thoughts, hearts, and behaviors to become productive members of society and loving people of society.
Eric Hogue 29:31
Most definitely. I think it still is. I call it the gold standard. 18 to 23 for four years. Some maybe five. I get it. But it’s the whole package, Drumm. It’s the whole experience. It’s learning how to live with other individuals who are different than you. They might even have different viewpoints on politics, faith, and life. They may be in your residential hall or in your cohort. You’re going to have to figure out how to live with them for four to five years because guess what? You’re going to be spilled out into the populace after graduation with 285 million other people. You better learn how to navigate here. So you can navigate there.
We call it the gold standard because of just that reality. I said this in the op-ed piece I write. I’ll just highlight it for a second, so pardon me for self-aggrandizing. Free speech is a God-given, constitutional right that’s an essential function of a democratic society. A complete college education dives deep into understanding this right. Such an education also empowers students to not be swayed by the ideologies of the moment but to compare new ideas against centuries of accrued knowledge. It empowers students to go forth into the world as fully-functioning members or perhaps leaders of a forward-thinking, forward-moving society. That’s mind, heart, decorum, behavior, maturity, and respect.
Drumm McNaughton 31:14
All of those things are critical. Using an academic term, if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always gotten. Is that really what we want?
Eric Hogue 31:31
Yes. I like what you posit. So, obviously, it is an end game. I certainly hope, Drumm, that higher ed can grab hold of this issue and make an example of it materially Yes, I pray that our culture can come together on the fact that it is okay, good, and healthy to agree to disagree and to share an ever-growing spectrum of ideas and menu list of agendas. The “group think” now is the populace. So the only way we’re going to navigate this versus being siloed or pocketed in our groups and throwing stones at each other is to come to the understanding that disagreement is a good thing. It shouldn’t be feared. But it must have decorum, respect, and appropriate behavior attached to it. The end game is not for me to make, Drumm. It’s for me to disagree with Drumm on an issue and love the fact that I like Drumm and that he likes good coffee. That’s America.
Drumm McNaughton 32:39
Especially the coffee part.
Eric Hogue 32:40
Yes, most definitely.
Drumm McNaughton 32:44
Well, Eric, this has been a fabulous conversation. Two quick things. One, what do we need to do? And this leads into the last couple of questions we always go with, the three takeaways for presidents and boards. The first one is, what do we need to do? How do we model this as senior academics so that we can teach our young folks these kinds of behaviors that they’re certainly not seeing in Congress or in society in general?
Eric Hogue 33:21
From the academic perspective, I might say two things. And I like talking points because of my talk radio past, right? Number one is resilience. You are not a victim in every situation or have always received the short stick or draw. We need to build resilience, not only in our students but in ourselves. Not everything is victimhood. Not everything is a crime. You can’t escalate every situation where somebody disagrees with you as an impingement upon your right or your freedoms. It’s in the wide minority. So let’s get some resilience in ourselves. Let’s build that, not only in our students but in the administration and faculty. I might even say it this way. It’s rather flippant, so I apologize. Let’s grow up a little bit. There’s a worthy effort for this value to be a part of our faculty. Let’s grow up. Let’s be the adults in the room.
Number two is truth. There should be a constant pursuit of truth. I am thankful that early on as a young child, my parents taught me the truth of gravity. You probably shouldn’t jump off the monkey bars because of gravity. That’s truth. That’s been healthy, and it’s good. Bobby who lived across the street didn’t agree with that truth and ended up with a broken collarbone because he jumped, and I did not. Even though it might be categorized as my truth or your truth, we can talk about what we are learning according to truth or even beauty and I might say God’s creation. But that pursuit of truth and the desire to know the absolute truth is not wrong. It’s not wrong for me to be on the journey in a different cadence of the 5K run toward truth.
Again, it’s going to take people growing up to realize he is allowed to think what he wants to think. We can disagree on that issue. That’s okay. In this country, you can do what you want. I can journey how I want. And once again, apply behavior and decorum to it. So those two things, but, man, I would put a bumper sticker together today that says, “Let’s just all grow up a little bit.” Can we grow up? It’s kind of embarrassing some days.
Drumm McNaughton 35:52
I hear you. For me, I’ll add one thing to that. Part of maturity is learning how to listen. If you walk into a conversation and somebody says something, it’s a proven fact that a third of the way through the conversation or the statement, the person who is listening is already developing their argument to go against. If you listen to other people, you might learn something, not only about them but about what they’re saying. Now,
Eric Hogue 36:30
Drumm, I blame the media for that. I missed long-form, moderated talk shows. I hate five-minute segments. I hate it because what you do as a guest is talk over the questions.
Drumm McNaughton 36:43
You have your talking points and you have to stick to your talking points. It doesn’t matter what the question is. Now, three takeaways for your fellow presidents and boards
Eric Hogue 36:53
Number one is resilience. Make sure that we’re producing resilient students who can be resilient in the marketplace. Number two is to act with decorum as an example for students. Can we all please do that? Let’s act like the adults in the room. That’s vital, even when you disagree. Number three is this is a worthy cause. Free speech is valuable. It’s free association. We are not all going to agree on everything. That’s an absolute truth. So let’s start there and work back. If Drumm and I can be pragmatic enough to agree on 80% of the things we talk about, that’s a really good relationship and probably lifelong. I would enjoy that.
Drumm McNaughton 37:38
Absolutely. Thank you. I will echo that as far as what you said about enjoying the relationship. What’s next for you, Eric?
Eric Hogue 37:48
More coffee, Drumm. More coffee.
Drumm McNaughton 37:52
Well, I’ve already made one good recommendation. I don’t know if you’ve ordered it yet or not. They’re not a sponsor of the podcast and we’re not going mention it online, but it’s really good coffee from Kona.
Eric Hogue 38:06
Any Kona coffee is … well, I’ll just be honest. Any coffee is good coffee these days.
Drumm McNaughton 38:12
Oh, I’ve got to disagree with you on that one. That may be your absolute truth, but it certainly isn’t mine. Eric, it’s been a pleasure. This is a very different format than what I typically do, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having this conversation with you. I look forward to more.
Eric Hogue 38:33
Drumm, thank you very much. I feel the same way. Thank you for the time, brother.
Drumm McNaughton 38:36
My pleasure, my brother. Take care. Thanks for listening today. And I’d like to give a special thank you to our guest Eric Hogue of Colorado Christian University. It was a pleasure having you on the show, Eric, and I look forward to the next time our paths cross. Tune in next week when we welcome Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan to the podcast. Dr. Kirwan is one of the longest serving and most revered university presidents we have in America, with 10 years at the University of Maryland College Park, The Ohio State University for four years, and system chancellor for the University System of Maryland for 13 years. Brit joins to talk about presidential turnover, something he is well-qualified to talk about, and what we need to fix this. Thanks again for listening. Until next week.
Changing Higher Ed is a production of the Change Leader, a consultancy committed to transforming higher ed institutions. Find more information about this topic and show notes on this episode at changinghighered.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe to the show. We would also value your honest rating and review. Email any questions, comments, or recommendations for topics or guests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Changing Higher Ed is produced and hosted by Dr. Drumm McNaughton. Post-production is by David L. White.