Speech Matters Energizes Addiction Debate

ClassroomA front page article in the Brattleboro Reformer and a news clip on WCAX-TV have brought Marlboro College’s new intensive program, called Speech Matters, to the attention of regional audiences. This year students in Speech Matters are focusing on reframing the debate on addiction, a prominent issue in the region and an increasingly hot topic in national election races.

“It is an intensive semester-long program that uses the skills of the humanities looking at how people talk, how words are used how to interpret what people say and bringing it to bear on a social issue,” said Meg Mott in the recent WCAX interview. A Marlboro politics and gender studies professor and director of Speech Matters, Meg’s object is for students to see that there are different ways and different vocabularies to approach problems like addiction.

“Being real careful about what words we use to describe a social issue is going to have a lot to do with how we solve a social issue,” said Meg. With Speech matters, she hopes to “roll back all the ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric that we have been hearing, because of the war on drugs, and turn it more into ‘we need to solve this as a community.’”