Forum focuses on challenges, opportunities of diversity
(Jan. 16, 2008)
Leaders from East Carolina University, the City of Greenville and the state addressed the challenges and opportunities of diversity in the wake of the discovery of a noose in a vehicle parked on campus.
Chancellor Steve Ballard told a forum attended by about 150 individuals: “With your help we can create the right kind of community and right kind of climate here.”
“Our challenge is race relations,” Ballard said. “We must focus on that, and we must make a difference.”
The forum was held Jan.15 in Mendenhall Student Center. At that time, ECU police were conducting an investigation of the noose, which was reported on Jan. 11 hanging from the rear-view mirror in a vehicle parked on a university lot on 14th Street.
Joel Butler, a member of the ECU Board of Trustees, told the forum that the board is committed to enhancing the educational experience at the university by ensuring a diverse experience. “There is no room at ECU for discrimination or racism,”Butler said.
Greenville Mayor Pat Dunn, an emerita faculty member who still teaches part-time in the College of Health and Human Performance, said, one of the goals of the city is to enhance diversity. “Our signs say we are building a diverse community,” Dunn said. She noted that the signs do not say “some” or “a few” are building a diverse community.
Others on the program were Provost Marilyn Sheerer; Equity Officer Taffye Benson Clayton; Calvin Henderson, president of the Pitt County Chapter of the NAACP; and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.
About a dozen members of the audience also addressed the gathering.