Ohio University Campus Conversation Takes on Race

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Ohio University students, faculty, and Athens locals are beginning the new year with a conversation about race.

The university sponsors “Campus Conversations,” designed to allow a confidential and open discussion about topics affecting college campuses. The first conversation on Tuesday responded to the movement of Black Lives Matter.

“The more we can talk about difficult and more controversial issues and very sensitive issues, the more we begin to understand each other,” Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said before the event at the Baker Center on campus. “It’s through that understanding that I think we develop a greater appreciation, a greater respect for, and a greater ability to work together and to get along.”

Some students who have never attended a conversation decided to participate after seeing a few of the university’s emails. Ohio University student Jordan Gregory Hall was inspired to attend because he believes discussion can help break racial stigmas.

“There’s been a lot of violence and stuff and I just think one of the most BS concepts out there is that just because we have a black president that we are in this post-racial utopia where everything’s perfect and there’s no problems,” Gregory Hall said.

Assistant Dean of Students Jamie Patton said the event began with a large panel discussing when they found their racial identity. After the large panel, small group sessions broke out and discussed issues of race.

McDavis said the university’s focus is to become an inclusive and welcoming community. He believes the conversations can help Athens grow.

“The more we understand how we are different and how we are similar, the better we will welcome and include each other in the whole campus environment,” McDavis said.

The next conversation is scheduled for January 26 and will also focus on race.