About 50 students attended a panel discussion Wednesday night about religious and racial tolerance at Marvin Center.
The Student Association held the event, titled “Tolerance on our Campus and in our Society,” to address issues of both racial and religious intolerance on campus. The seven-member panel consisted of five students, Director of the Multicultural Student Services Center Michael Tapscott and Suleiman Osman, a professor of American studies.
“We need to take a proactive, united front and set a tone that has been missing since the civil rights movement,” said senior Charles Basden, president of the Black Student Union.
Several audience members and most of the panel members – including SA Executive Vice President Brand Kroeger and senior Nouf Bazaz of the Islamic Alliance for Justice – echoed Basden’s call for a “united front” against racial and religious discrimination.
Bazaz said several student organizations plan to work together to form a “Peace Not Prejudice” initiative to promote these ideas in a series of events and seminars.
Several students who attended the forum addressed concerns about conservative author David Horowitz’s plans to speak on campus in two weeks as part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Senior Shannon Holmes encouraged students opposed to Horowitz’s “racist” message to write letters to University administrators.
SA President Nicole Capp, a junior, said the SA is in a tough position if it chooses to respond to the controversial posters hung around campus Monday morning because the posters were meant to have a satirical message but were received differently.
Sophomore Ashley Heacock said events such as Horowitz’s speech present opportunities to reach and educate students who “may have misconceptions about Islam.” Heacock implored her fellow students to attend the Horowitz event and ask tough questions to expose his ignorance.