Center for Civil Discourse

Center for Civil Discourse

Building Bridges

Fostering a more civil society for the common good.


The Center for Civil Discourse fosters a more civil society in which individuals and groups dialogue respectfully and responsibly for the common good.  

Goal To Serve

It is our goal to serve as:

  • Catalyst  for building bridges of dialogue that improve relationships at the household, local and national level
  • Connector for creating partnerships fostering civil discourse
  • Coach by training emerging leaders, both individual and institutional, to engage in responsible communication and advocacy that heals and promotes the social fabric of our society
  • Clearinghouse by providing information, activities and tools pertaining to speech in the public sector

Who We Are

We are a broad based community initiative comprised of both professionals and students from all sectors. 

Institutional Partners

Together we serve as catalyst, coach, connector and clearinghouse for fostering civil discourse in the West Michigan community. And to think our Center came about as the result of sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. During a chance encounter at the Grand Rapids YMCA the morning after the 2016 presidential election, Professor Victoria Vuletich and Grand Rapids attorney Brian Plachta discovered they were on opposite sides of the “political divide.”

Rather than arguing, debating or attempting to persuade the other, they decided to listen to one another. On a gloomy morning the day before Thanksgiving, they met over coffee to share their viewpoints. Rapidly identifying the real issue as process, not policy, they agreed that America must rediscover the ability to disagree in a productive and civil fashion to survive. Victoria and Brian reached out to those in their circles to see if anyone felt the same. They were met with overwhelming interest, energy and support. This is something everyday people can do, and it all begins with a simple conversation. 

 A lot has happened since that cup of coffee. And more is in the works. We invite you to join the conversation.


WMU-Cooley Professor Victoria Vuletich
[email protected]
(616) 301-6800 ext. 6960


WMU-Cooley Law School
300 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933 
(517) 371-5140

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