ROCK HILL, S.C. — Winthrop University hosted a virtual town hall to discuss eliminating racism and focusing on diversity.
Moderator Adolphus Belk led the discussion, saying that he wants Winthrop University to do something powerful, something more than just statements and pledges to diversity.
He wants the school, staff and community members to communicate, discuss and take action.
This comes after nationwide demonstrations, following the deaths of several African American men, like the Emanuel 9 in Charleston, Walter Scott, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery to name a few. Belk says, “people are stick and tired.”
Several panelists spoke during the discussion. They were Provost Adrienne McCormick, Vice President Shelia Burkhalter, Interim Asst. Chief of Police Charles Yearta and others from Winthrop.
They spoke on how they felt hearing about George Floyd’s death, examining Winthrop University, it’s values and what can be done to stop racism and promote diversity. The panelists say it’s about identifying the root cause of racism, seeing false logic that’s in arguments about political correctness and unpacking responses when we disagree with someone. It goes a step further, to help folks be more empathetic.
It also requires work, they add, saying students, staff and community members should use libraries and online to learn and understand. Trainings should be held frequently and the discussion should not end.
There was also discussion on changing the name of Tillman Hall that honors Ben Tillman, a former South Carolina governor and white supremacist who was the driving force behind state support for the university.
CN2’s Rachel Richardson will have more on the diversity dialogue in an upcoming newscast.