In an effort to revive civility in the discussion of politics, Stockton University will sponsor a series of small-group and community discussions on the issue, starting in January.

John Froonjian, interim executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton, says "the Hughes Center wants to do its part to try to elevate the conversation about civics and politics and [let students] know that there was a time when you could talk about politics and not call each other names."

"We are just so polarized as a nation and we've kind of lost the ability to speak in civil tones when we talk about politics," he said. "Our political opponents are referred to as enemies It's become really toxic."

They hope to start these discussions in January, working with the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman is co-chairwoman of the NICD, whose advisory board is led by former President Bill Clinton. The advisory board also includes Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

"It's encouraging to know that there are people out there who who do recognize the problem and want to do something about it. And so we're we're going to hold these discussions but also look for other programs and other ways that we can raise consciousness about it," Froonjian said.

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