The panel, hosted by the TCU Departments of Journalism and International Studies, consisted of five students from five different countries.
Chancellor Victor Boschini said that people should be able to debate issues without losing civility.
“I cannot think of a more important topic to discuss right now, I am just really tired of all the anger in America and in the world,” he said. “I think it’s ridiculous that we can’t debate issues and not be friends.”
Panelist Nafissatou Boixel, who graduated in May, said that civility stems from knowing you can disagree.
Respect and its importance to civil discourse were discussed frequently by the panel.
“Respect is the main goal of any discussion,” said Nasrallah Alkhabi, a senior from Saudi Arabia.
The panelists felt that social media has affected civil discourse and the words that you can say online can affect and hurt people.
“Freedom of speech is a wonderful right to have, but we have to be responsible with it and not say whatever we want because you can really negatively impact a person,” Boxiel said.
Dr. Uche Onyebadi, chair of the journalism department and moderator of the panel, said that family can be the “bedrock” when it comes from learning manners and how to respect others and be civil.
Pacifique Rutamu, a senior from Rwanda, talked about the Rwandan genocide and how he was affected by it personally.
“I turned to my mother and asked her how is it that this happened in a country where people speak the same language and have the same origins,” he said. “One of the reasons that she told me was that you have to respect and love people regardless of what they did.”
The panelists said they wanted people to take away the importance of respect and consideration in discussions.