AUTogether Town Hall was hosted on Tuesday evening in the Haley Center as a chance for students, faculty and members of the Auburn community to discuss matters of inclusion with University administration.
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Woodard said they discovered the White Student Union's website is based out of Florida even though their website says New York. Pamphlets and fliers for the Union have shown up on other SEC campuses as well.
Taffye Benson Clayton, associate provost and vice president for inclusion and diversity, said she's seen the White Student Union pop up at about seven or eight other institutions.
Clayton recommended students be aware, have a sense of what is happening and figure out how to respond to challenging micro-aggressions.
“There are efforts nationwide that really seek to devalue and deconstruct university values," Clayton said. "It’s vitally important that we return to our values.”
Though it's a complex issue, Clayton said counter-narratives help people deal with these types of conflicts.
“It’s very important as we’re navigating it that we are thoughtful about it, that we encourage students as they hear things that are not as indicative as they should be of our inclusive campus community," Clayton said. "It's important that they’re able to challenge that speech as well.”
One global student stood up to say more resources are necessary to help global students feel welcome. Her comments earned her applause from members of the audience.
“There’s no one when we need someone to talk," said the student.
Woodard took her comments as an opportunity to address issues in housing communities. Global students have complained about anti-muslim comments at a particular apartment complex, which the University has set up a meeting with.
There have been similar situations at places such as Target, Walmart and WinnDixie, and Woodard said the University talked to managers, without mentioning names, to try and solve the problems.
Woodard encouraged any student facing a similar situation to report it.
"We’re here to help you," Woodard said. "We’re also here to get you out of your comfort zone."
Woodard also identified Clayton as a great person to have conversations with on the topic of diversity and inclusion.
“It’s not just a black or white thing with her,” Woodard said. "Understand that. She is the chief diversity officer on this campus. That means everything. She represents some of those needs.
Kevin Coonrod, University ombudsperson, also stood up from the back of the room to remind students his job allows him to have confidential conversations to help people deal with conflicts.
"I have a place where you can have a safe conversation," Coonrod said. "I won't do anything with your conversation unless you give me permission to do so. I have helped lots of international students work through problems they were dealing with."
Brad Smith, SGA advisor, said SGA wants to start conversations with the student body on diversity and inclusion as much as possible.
“Our students are really making sure they’re creating as many educational opportunities as possible," Smith said.
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