Reflections for university leaders and their communities
Photo credit: University of Virginia Today
The violent neo-Nazi and white supremacist marches in Charlottesville and on the University of Virginia campus last weekend unleashed a torrent of hate-filled animosity beyond anything we have witnessed in several decades. Across the country, leaders are speaking out, social media is ablaze and citizens are challenging the abhorrent racism and bigotry on such sickening display.
A recent article in Education Dive titled “Don’t Wait on a Crisis to Implement Diversity initiatives” hit on some crucial points.
One thing I have observed over many years of work in this area is that activism and institutional response on race, climate, inclusion, and privilege seem to be cyclical. Institutions tend to change very slowly and they make the most change around diversity when they are responding to the “pain” and disruption of activism. Students and other activists grow frustrated with the slow pace of change, and things eventually come to a head with demonstrations, demands, and elevated attention.
The clash between news reporters, protesters and faculty at the University of Missouri has sparked a dialogue about First Amendment rights, media coverage of protest and why protesters might not want the news media in their midst.
Not surprisingly, the news media are reporting the incident as a violation of freedom of the press, and they may be right. But there are boundaries when it comes to media access on campus, and it’s worth discussing them. Continue reading