Georgia Southern holds student-led diversity discussions in response to book burning incident

Georgia Southern holds student-led diversity discussions in response to book burning incident

STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University students and university leaders met Monday on the Armstrong campus as part of the Student Government Association’s regular meeting.

They opened it up for a forum on diversity and a discussion of differing views. This comes after a visiting author's speech last week about racism and white privilege. Some students took exception and voiced their concerns.

But afterward, they took copies of her book that they’d bought for a class and burned them in a grill and posted a video. The incident and the reaction across the country has students talking.

“It was informative. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. It's the way you act on that opinion that affects other people,” student Kamiah Walker said.

Student leaders, from Armstrong and Statesboro, say it should prompt dialogue for people to see other’s perspectives.

“We want to make sure the university understands how students feel about it. And when they get student input, we can make real change,” Taylor Tyack, with SGA, said.

University President Dr. Kyle Marrero emailed the campus community to say among other things: while it's within the students' First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern's values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas.

For some students, the burning sent the wrong message.

“I think you don't always have to act on your opinion,” Walker said.

Another opportunity for discussion will be at the SGA meeting on Wednesday evening at the Statesboro campus at 6:30 p.m.

Student leaders hope these two meetings bring dialogue and bring people together.

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