First event in planned series explored first steps to institution-wide change
A virtual town hall meeting, “A Community Conversation About Racial Injustice,” was held Thursday, June 11 via the Zoom meeting platform and provided an opportunity for members of the campus community to share their narratives around the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and injustices against Black people.
The event, which was attended by 300 people, was introduced by Karina Fuentes, assistant director of intercultural development, and moderated by Luis Schettino, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience. Gladstone “Fluney” Hutchinson, associate professor of economics, delivered opening remarks. Faculty, staff, and students spoke during the “open mic” portion of the event and discussed themes relating to campus police practices, experiences of Black faculty members, and students feeling a need for a greater sense of belonging in the Lafayette community. The College’s response to racial tensions that have been experienced on campus even before the recent protests began also was discussed, with those in attendance strongly urging an implementation of institution-wide change that does not fall solely on Black faculty and students.
The town hall was planned by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Counsel (DEI) and Office of Intercultural Development (OID), and was the first in a series of events planned as part of an ongoing initiative that will enable the Lafayette community to share information, reflect on feelings, and document what is happening during the BLM movement. DEI and OID also are creating “Expressions of Solidarity Against Racial Injustice: A Digital Collection,” and will be announcing panel events that will discuss anti-Black racism.