In Ohio State’s effort to educate and inform about morality, the university has scheduled speakers and events to talk about different topics. This year’s focus is immigration.
A research center being developed at OSU has begun a series of year-long, campus-wide discussions called Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society.
The Center for Ethics and Human Values will bring students, faculty and the community together to understand central aspects of human concern, in education or in life. It provides a resource and place for these discussions to take place.
COMPAS is built around three main elements, “Academic Core,” “University Life” and “Education,” which will involve students, scholars, public officials, community leaders and the public to shape campus life and show the value of OSU as a model of civil, informed discourse.
“We want to bring students into a rich, intellectual environment,” said Donald Hubin, professor and chairman of OSU’s philosophy department.
Hubin worked with Buckeye Book Community as part of the First Year Experience to bring a book to students, Outcasts United, a story about a refugee soccer team and how a refugee-resettlement process changed the small southern town of Clarkston, Ga.
A land grant has been given by the state federal government to OSU on the condition they serve certain public functions.
“We have a requirement by the grant to inform the general public, to serve all and teach about agricultural economics,” Hubin said. “That’s all part of our land grant mission.”
The first major discussion to start the event, “Immigration: What’s At Stake?” addressed the challenges and opportunities immigration poses in the United States.
Former foreign minister of Mexico and current professor at New York University, Jorge Castañeda, gave the keynote address on what is to be done in the U.S. when it comes to immigration.
“It makes for an unhealthy society to have so many people living without papers, licenses, credits and that has to change,” Castañeda said. “And the only possible way is to legalize it.”
In his address, Castañeda focused on the misconceptions Americans have of immigrants and how states outlawing illegal immigration are handling the situation in the wrong way.
“I want Americans to acknowledge the enormous contribution immigrants, legal or illegal, make to American society,” Castañeda said. “Doing jobs Americans don’t want to do or at wages Americans don’t want to do them at.”
When it comes to understanding the economic impact of immigration, OSU has the advantage over other universities around the nation because of the studies they offer, Hubin said.
“If you want to understand the immigration issue, the economic impact, you’ve got to understand agricultural economics,” Hubin said, “OSU does.”
Various events will continue over the course of the year. The College of Public Health is planning a session to look into the impact immigration has on health care costs and a conference with public officials and scholars will be held in the spring to discuss these issues surrounding immigration, according to Hubin.
OSU’s COMPAS program hopes to present a different topic every year.
“This gives people a chance to understand views from other’s perspectives,” said Tara Jenner, a fourth-year in philosophy. “This offers a chance to see the other side.”