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Civility was the byword in a discussion with Allegheny College President James Mullen

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Members of our editorial board had an interesting conversation Wednesday with Allegheny College President James Mullen and YDR alumnus Tim Reeves – who you might recall as spokesman for former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Mr. Mullen was scheduled to be in the area and asked if he could stop by for a chat about civility in public discourse.

Inspired in part by a York Sunday News Viewpoints section feature from May 2011, Servants of Civility, the school this year awarded the first Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to New York Times columnist David Brooks and Mark Shields for their “passionate but civilized debate” on PBS’ “NewsHour.”

The award, to be presented annually to one conservative and one liberal, will honor those who vigorously engage in meaningful public debate, but who do so in a civil manner without demonizing opponents.

It’s a wonderful venture, and we feel honored that our effort to highlight York countians who act as servants of civility helped inspire the award.

Our wide-ranging and – yes – civil conversation Wednesday touched on social media, presidential and congressional politics, how young people view civil discourse and many other subjects. Check out the accompanying video for a brief taste of Mr. Mullen’s thoughts on his initiative.