Murray State President Bob Davies is inviting the university community to be involved in a series of surveys and forums aimed to promote a so-called ‘Marketplace of Ideas.’
Davies sent out a letter last night saying the move for engagement comes in light of the vitriolic rhetoric and divide among issues of race, equality, social justice and personal safety in the country today.
"Over the past year, and with increased intensity, we are witnessing a time in the history of our country where issues of race, equality, social justice and concerns of personal safety are being raised," wrote President Davies. "These are difficult questions and discussions. There are no easy answers or silver bullets. We have seen demonstrations and protests at many universities across the country. We have experienced on our own campus, and throughout our community, divisive messages of intolerance, prejudices and furthering stereotypes. Each of these incidents raised serious questions that we must examine, reflect upon and understand—not only from our own perspectives, but also from the view and vantage points of others. We must also not only think about our own immediate community, but also reflect and examine the national scene and understand the current context.
As a member of the Marketplace of Ideas, we have a moment in time to make a significant difference in the lives of our students and all members of our community. I believe, at this moment, we can expand on the Marketplace of Ideas and provide a true and valuable learning experience for all of us. This is also following our community pledge and its four principles of accepting one another, learning from one another, creating an atmosphere of positive engagement and challenging bigotry."
He says such issues have recently emerged on Murray State campus noting several protests, gatherings and the presence of groups with controversial viewpoints.
Earlier this semester, a white-nationalist hate group known as the Traditionalist Workers Party made recruiting efforts on campus.
As a start, a Google form has been set up to submit ideas and concerns by November 18th.
Davies says ideas of race relations will be the focal point of the 2017 Presidential Lecture Series.