Let's Talk: A Critical Conversations Initiative

"Addressing the social concerns of our community when they happen, as they happen"

Welcome to Let's Talk! This is a new university initiative operating under the umbrella of the Critical Conversations Program. We welcome your feedback to help its development.

What is Let's Talk?
When social incidents arise that disrupt or challenge the learning environment at UM, Let's Talk offers a way for any UM student, faculty, or staff to request university involvement and support. When you submit a request, the Let's Talk team evaluates your request and determines a timely, fitting response. 

What is a "social incident"?
A social incident is an event that affects the whole university community or a significant portion of it.

What is a typical event the program is meant to handle?
Examples of typical events the program is meant to address include hate crimes or speech (especially of a widely publicized nature), political issues including state and federal legislation, judicial decisions with a broad societal impact, or the aftermath to local, national, or world tragedies like terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

What does the program NOT typically handle?
This is not a first response program for a campus emergency or the place to report crimes. Also, Let's Talk typically does not address small-scale personal conflicts, assist in organizing student activism (e.g. protests), or problem shoot classroom disruptions and worries. It is also not meant to address systemic or historical questions of social justice. If you are looking for help in one of these matters please check the following:  Report a Concern

How do I start a request ? Click here Let's Talk Request

How long will it take to get a response?
The team makes every effort to handle all submissions as quickly as possible, and typically within 48 hours. However, external circumstances and the nature of the submission may necessitate a longer review time period. When you receive a reply, it will tell you if your request is being officially reviewed. Requests that enter official review normally receive a final confirmation within the next 48 hours. This follow up will outline the preliminary actions and offer suggestions about how you can stay involved in Let's Talk's efforts.

Why wouldn't my request make it to official review?
In some cases, requests duplicate each other. In other cases, requests are better handled through different university channels, most likely because they do not affect the general learning environment, but instead only a small set of individuals. Finally, it may be that your request is judged not to have the kind of immediacy that this program is designed to address. As noted above, long-term issues or enduring systemic problems of justice, for example, while important, are often better addressed through the main Critical Conversations program. The main program of Critical Conversations (https://www.memphis.edu/criticalconversations/) plans student forums, invites guest speakers, organizes panel discussions, and so on, on a wide variety of sustained issues connected to social justice. In the event your request is transferred to the main Critical Conversations program, you will be put into contact with a representative of that program.

Are all officially reviewed requests guaranteed a rapid Let's Talk response?
No. Because actionable responses require final administrative approval, it is possible that the final recommendation will still be to turn the request over to the main Critical Conversations team.

What will happen if my request is approved?
There is no exact answer to this question. The Let's Talk program is meant to allow for considerable flexibility given that the kinds of incidents it is meant to address are typically highly emotionally, morally, and politically charged. Responses will involve everything from prompt email or other social media acknowledgements by the President and Provost to more programmatic responses like town hall meetings and vigils.