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Rethinking Respect

Colleges can help students cultivate civic respect—a value more easily affirmed than granted in our polarized climate, Jeff Spinner-Halev and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse write.

With universities reeling from months of protests and intense political scrutiny, with many students and faculty feeling threatened and misunderstood, it’s time to revive an old-school value that plays a key role in our democracy: civic respect. 

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Jeff Spinner-Halev is the Kenan Eminent Professor of Political Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse is the Willa Cather Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

They are the authors of the recently published Respect and Loathing in American Democracy: Polarization, Moralization, and the Undermining of Equality (University of Chicago Press, 2024).

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