I am one of the recipients of President Eric Barron’s email regarding civility in the Penn State community. I have also watched his YouTube video on the same topic. I agree with him that we all should strive for civil discourse.
I also agree with him that the level of civil discourse in the Penn State community has decreased.
I hope his letter is an indication that the university is going to examine how comments and actions by it, its constituent boards and individual representatives are contributing to incivility.
Individuals faced with a large, seemingly uncaring and occasionally hostile institution may feel helpless and lash out at it.
While that does not excuse incivility from the individual, it does suggest a way to reduce such responses in the future.