When SUNY Cortland’s Black Student Union (BSU) asked students, faculty and staff members to attend a Nov. 17 town hall style meeting, the campus community answered by filling Old Main Brown Auditorium.
Given positive feedback from audience members and an overwhelming interest in continuing the discussion, a second town hall event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. The follow-up conversation on race, bias and discrimination will allow more time for audience members to ask questions and provide feedback for the College President’s Cabinet. BSU leadership again will moderate the discussion.
During the Nov. 17 talk, six student leaders joined President Erik J. Bitterbaum’s leadership team on stage to recount examples of racism in their own words and offer suggestions for future improvement. President Bitterbaum and his cabinet members spoke to questions from the audience, but there were many remaining at the end of the allotted 90 minutes.
“In the midst of student narratives about personal frustrations, as well as the questions and responses from the audience, the themes of unity and the need for greater mutual respect were prominent,” President Bitterbaum said. “As an institution of teaching and learning, we have a responsibility to combat ignorance and fear, replacing the negative with a positive mutual understanding. By collectively identifying specific barriers to diversity on our campus we can provide important direction for concrete ways to improve in the future.”
Audience members are encouraged to join the Facebook event and to continue using #BSUCortlandTownHall on social media. For more information on the Dec. 1 event, contact the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office at 607-753-2336.