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Common Ground Initiative


Finding Common Ground

Watch the highlight video of Widener's Common Ground event at the National Constitution Center.

Widener University, in partnership with the National Constitution Center, invites the campus community to the first event in our common ground initiative. The program will encourage thoughtful discussion and a commitment to mutual understanding, unity, and respect.

The First Amendment: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World

Exploring the intersection of free speech and civil discourse in modern America

  • Date: Tuesday, November 14
  • Location: The National Constitution Center
  • Registration: This event is open to Widener University faculty, staff, trustees, students, and alumni from Main Campus and both law schools. Free Widener shuttle transportation is available upon registration. Seating is limited register today!

Register for Event


9:15 - 10:15 a.m. – Panel Discussion (F.M. Kirby Auditorium)
Panel includes Widener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman and Delaware Law School Dean Rodney Smolla, with National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen as moderator.

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. – Student-Led Discussions
Student volunteers, trained by Widener faculty to facilitate discussions on difficult topics, will lead discussions that emphasize understanding and empathy and combat an "us vs. them" or a "win vs. lose" approach to political discussions.


Dr. WollmanWidener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman

Wollman will discuss her role as a university president who is intent on honoring all voices and finding common ground, at a time when polarization has affected multiple colleges and universities nationally.



Dean SmollaDelaware Law School Dean Rodney Smolla

Smolla will explore the free speech implications of the First Amendment, and the differences between what is illegal versus what is distasteful public speech. He is a nationally known First Amendment scholar and lawyer. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently appointed him to the task force charged with evaluating circumstances that led to the violent white supremacist events this August in Charlottesville.


Jeffrey RosenNational Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen

Rosen will serve as our moderator for the panel discussion. In addition to his duties at the National Constitution Center, Rosen is a professor at George Washington University Law School, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He is a highly regarded journalist who was called "the nation's most widely read and influential legal commentator," by a Los Angeles Times reviewer.


Continuing Legal Education Credit

One free substantive continuing legal education credit (excluding ethics) is available to Pennsylvania attorneys who attend.