decibel audio experiences


Start Here:

Below you'll find a link to the audio, some notes, and instructions for the follow up assignment.

You will need:

A small group: At least one other person to sit with, listen, and discuss. (The more the merrier.)

A device to stream this audio and load speakers so you can all listen together. 

A good place to listen (e.g. the lounge at your dorm).

A pen and paper to take notes as desired. 

At least 40 minutes. 

Scroll down to begin...


Here's the Audio:


We have deliberately omitted context and citations for the quotes you will hear. Simply consider whether you agree or disagree with the words themselves on a path to developing your own point of view.


Here's a Tip:

Keep a notebook or paper handy in case you'd like to take notes as you listen.



Download the audio podcast above and gather together a small group of other students (roommates, dormmates, strangers).

Listen together to the podcast and then engage in dialogue about what you heard.

Dialogue on this topic is one of the most important outcomes of the audio experience. To earn extra credit for the assignment, however, we need some way to evaluate your reaction to the audio.

The formal and additional portion of this assignment is to craft an individual response to what you heard. In keeping with the spirit of an experimental and optional assignment, we’re open to your response coming in different forms: you can make an audio recording of a conversation that you facilitate, you can make a video response, or you can write up your reaction as a short essay.

As a means to stimulate your imagination, here are some prompts to organize your response (audio, video, or written):

Imagine that you’re at a family gathering over winter break, or a party with your high school friends. They’ve heard about Mizzou and Yale, they might even know about the Fossil Fuel divestment movement on campus here. They ask you about what’s going on at college campuses and at Stanford specifically. They want to know your position.

Imagine a reporter asks you the following question: “What’s the climate like here at Stanford? Do you need better protections for free speech or more safe spaces for students?”

Did this assignment need a “trigger warning”? 

Whatever your response, and whatever form it takes, be sure that you lay out your own point of view and articulate the intellectual reasoning behind it. In this respect, don’t hesitate to draw on the readings and ideas we’ve encountered in this course (various defenses of free speech/assembly, the ideal of freedom, the ideal of equality).