SMU DRCM Prof. Tom Hartsell on How To Talk Politics Without Blowing Your Lid

D Magazine by S. Holland Murphy

Originally Posted: October 14, 2016

There’s a deep political divide among my Facebook friends: On one side, the conservative suburbanites whom I grew up with, and, on the other, the liberal artists and urbanites I have befriended since college. The election is bringing out the worst in all of them, and the dogmatic social media posts have now hit a fever pitch.

It may be bringing out the worst in me, as well. I’ve never been a fan of political discussions—the result of being raised by a lawyer whose sport of choice is heated debate—but this week’s political theatrics compelled me to leave an incendiary comment on a relative’s Facebook post, and I started to wonder whether some of my relationships could survive this election cycle.

All of this led me to email Tom Hartsell, a lawyer and mediator who teaches in the Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling at SMU. I asked him if he had any thoughts on how I could make it to November 8th without having to sever ties with people I otherwise love and respect. He wrote back with an essay about his own experience. It’s worth sharing:

“Like most Americans I can’t wait for the presidential election to be over with.  My spouse and I have been coexisting on opposite sides of the political divide since we got married over 20 years ago. Every four years the tension begins to ramp up around the presidential election.  What we have learned is that we do best when we avoid discussion of the election and candidates. We spent years debating and arguing and trying to persuade and change each other’s views without success.

The old saying love the person, abhor the sin is applicable, but in a marriage it is best not to let on how much you abhor your spouse’s chosen candidate. For the sake of the greater good—the relationship—we had to agree to disagree and discontinue political debate. 

As an educator and professional involved in conflict resolution for most of my professional career, you would think I would have had more success in navigating political disagreements with my spouse and keep them from becoming contentious. My spouse and I were unable to keep our emotions from getting hijacked which caused bad feelings. In other words, we would get nasty with each other. Not the kind of heat you want in the marital bed. Fortunately, time has given us perspective. Guess what America, the country survives whoever gets to set up shop in the oval office. The emotional upset political disagreements generated was physically draining for my spouse and I, and would temporarily blind us as to how we truly felt about each other. 

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DRCM Alumna Debuts New Book at Author Series on Oct. 11

News and Events

Originally Posted: October 4, 2016

webrobyn-short-headshot-1-243x300SMU Dispute Resolution Alumna Robyn Short will debut her new book, Peace in the Workplace: Transforming Conflict Into Collaboration, at the Conflict Resolution Author Series on Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management at SMU-in-Plano.

Her lecture, Peace in the Workplace, will be followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to drcm@smu.edu.

Event Details
SMU Conflict Resolution Author Series presents
Peace in the Workplace Lecture & Book Signing

Tuesday, October 11 at 6:30 p.m.
5228 Tennyson Parkway, Building 3
SMU-in-Plano

About the Book
Peace in the Workplace: Transforming Conflict Into Collaboration

If you lead or manage people, processes or projects, you have experienced workplace conflict. After all, where there are people, there is conflict. And where there is conflict, there is a choice. In Peace in the Workplace: Transforming Conflict Into Collaboration, international speaker, peace-building trainer and mediator Robyn Short provides insight and guidance to help leaders and
organizations understand that conflict.
Continue reading DRCM Alumna Debuts New Book at Author Series on Oct. 11

SMU Dispute Resolution Director to receive Lowry Award

News and Events

Originally Posted: September 30, 2016

betty-gilmorewebThe Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) has chosen Dr. Betty Gilmore as the 2016 L. Randolph Lowry Award recipient. The award honors members of the dispute resolution community who have inspired others through their passion and dedication to education in the field of dispute resolution.

Gilmore serves as director and faculty at the Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management at Southern Methodist University where she teaches a variety of graduate courses in conflict engagement and peacebuilding. She also teaches for The Werner Institute for Negotiation at the Creighton School of Law and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law.  She also delivers training and professional presentations both nationally and internationally in the areas of conflict engagement, peacebuilding and human rights.

Gilmore will be the ninth recipient of the Lowry Award. Past recipients include Charles Chang, Russell Korobkin, A. Marco Turk, Peter Robinson, Thomas Stipanowich, Lee Jay Berman, Daniel Druckman and Deborah Masucci.

The L. Randolph Lowry Award will be presented to Gilmore during the kick-off dinner of the 28th Annual Southern California Mediation Association Conference on Nov. 4 in Malibu, Calif.

ABOUT THE AWARD:

The L. Randolph Lowry Award was established in 2005 and is named for L. Randolph Lowry III, a national leader in dispute resolution for over 20 years. He was the co-founder and first president of SCMA, founded the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law, and is the president of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. He has served in more than 40 states and six continents as a lawyer, mediator, author, consultant and teacher in the areas of conflict management consulting, systems design and training.