Last year, a former Georgia Southern student caused an uproar amongst the Georgia Southern community following a threatening Facebook posting.
A year after that post, the GS community had mixed feelings regarding how the situation was handled, as well as what the university could do to improve race relations on campus.
How it started
In November of 2015, a GS student responded to an article regarding the Black Lives Matter protest in Michigan. The student then threatened those in the GS community if they were ever to partake in such protest.
After the post was sent, word got around about the content of the post. From face-to-face conversation to social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter, where many took to their accounts to voice their opinion on the controversial topic and about many racial and discriminatory issues on and off the Georgia Southern’s campus.
Later on in the day, the student released another Facebook post, expressing the motive behind the post. The topic lead to the release of the NAACP’s list of demands to the University.
NAACP demands released
Before the release the demands by GS’ NAACP, chapter, the university released a statement, encouraging students to exercise their right to free speech and that all threats made towards anyone will not be tolerated.
Soon after the university released their statement, the GS NAACP chapter released a one page statement on the racial and discriminatory issues against African Americans and other minorities on GS campus.
A list of demands followed, asking the university to take on specific tasks to create a more diverse campus. The demands included a campus climate survey and a 12 percent increase in the hiring of black professors by 2020.
One year later
Since the release of the NAACP demands, little has been said about progression made or if any of the demands were handled.
GS students expressed their opinions about the demands and how they felt the school handles racial issues.
Fatima Sallah, junior nursing major, still believes the university has not fully handled racial and discriminatory issues since the release of the demands.
“I don’t feel like they have done anything to be honest,” Sallah said. “I feel like they just wrote that [statement] for us and made it seem like they were doing something about it.”
Will Long, sophomore business management major, expressed how the demands were necessary, but possibly difficult to execute.
“In regards to the demands, I feel like they had a reason to ask the school for specific things,” Long said. “At the same time, there is only so much that the school can do.”
The university responded to an inquiry from The George-Anne, expressing their quest to creating a more diverse campus and how they plan on handling each demand:
Last year increased conversations began on campus among students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff on the issue of race in our community. As working together to resolve these issues is a priority for Georgia Southern, we are proud of those who shared opinions and offered suggestions. The University’s leadership remained open to and encouraged open discussion and dialogue with respect to all points of view on these issues with any student organization. These are ongoing conversations on valid concerns that are leading to positive changes at the University. When concerns were presented to the University, they were assessed for areas in which University leaders could promptly make effective changes. Some areas, including the naming of the 13th president of Georgia Southern, needed to be addressed by the University System of Georgia. Other issues require long-term attention. The University continues to hire the most qualified faculty to represent our diverse student body and to grow quality programs of study that contribute to the success of our students and reflect this diversity. We remain committed to making it a priority to create an institution where no student feels ignored, mistreated or neglected by providing improved resources for involvement and new opportunities for learning about each other. We continue to do the work to reach this goal.
The NAACP chapter at GS could not be reached for comment.