Panel tells students how to navigate difficult situations on campus


Founder of ‘Take Back Cheapside’ DeBraun Thomas speaks during the council meeting held to vote on the removal of two Confederate statues in downtown Lexington. The two statues include one of John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate general, and another, John C. Breckinridge, the last Confederate Secretary of War. The final, unanimous vote was taken on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Jasper Jones

A panel of local activists and UK employees answered student questions about racism, discrimination and current politics Friday in the Kincaid Auditorium.

The questions the panelists fielded focused mainly on challenging campus communications.

One student asked what communication strategies could be used in this situation: when a professor and other students single out a single student in a discussion of racism, discrimination or current politics.

Prominent local activist DeBraun Thomas of Take Back Cheapside said he was one of five black kids in his third-grade class. Every Black History month, his class talked about slavery and everyone would look to him for an answer.

One question described a scenario in which a student came out to their roommate and the roommate responded by calling her a slur. The question asked what an RA would do in this situation.

Associate Vice President of Student Engagement Victor Hazard said if he were an RA he would talk to each roommate one on one and connect them to resources on campus, like the counseling center, and find an appropriate time to bring them back together.

Students present at the event said it was helpful for students who deal with things that might be difficult to discuss or communicate.

“It was really informational,” said Stephen Bloom, a forestry sophomore. “I thought the scenarios that were presented definitely led to great discussion between the panel and students.”

Computer engineering sophomore John McAnarney said the panelists were very interesting to listen to and came from all different aspects of the academic field.