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Discussing Race on Campus
Yesterday morning an effigy of Senator Barack Obama was found hanging from a tree in the quad at George Fox University in Newberg. The accompanying tag read "Act Six Reject." Act Six is a two-year old program at the school that brings minority and low income people from urban Portland to George Fox. They learn leadership skills and are charged with engaging the school in conversations about race.
As I write this the president of the university, Robin Baker, is addressing the student body. This morning on Think Out Loud we began the show by speaking with Joel Perez, the dean of transitions and inclusion at George Fox and the overseer of the Act Six program. Perez described the incident and talked about the university's response.
"We work with students before they enter on campus to kind of prepare them," Perez said. They're trained in leadership, he noted. But they're also told
"Hey, it's a predominantly white campus, and at some point you're going to enter into a conversation in a residence hall or in a dining hall that could potentially be an insensitive conversation. You're going to have to engage in conversations around issues of diversity, and what diversity means, as far as biblical context and those kinds of things."
I think it's fair to say that the conversation has begun.
You can listen to the full seven-minute interview in this MP3 (it's right after the intro).
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