Keynote speaker and demonstration create dialogue at CCU

Keynote speaker and demonstration create dialogue at CCU

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Race, equality, and social justice were the topics of discussion at Coastal Carolina University on Tuesday.

Students made those discussions happen both inside and outside a celebration for late civil rights leader Ella Baker.

Everything centered on the keynote speaker, known Black Lives Matter activist Janaya Kahn.

The professor behind the decision said the idea was to open up discussion and conversation about injustices in the world.

"I really want students to understand that they can be a voice for social justice and social change," said Dr. Deborah Perkins, the CCU associate professor of Sociology. "I want them to understand what some of these current issues really are and to really open it up for conversation and dialogue around injustices that we face in our world and how they can be a solution for change."

Not everyone agreed though, as around 10 students peacefully demonstrated outside the event.

Students with the Coastal Carolina Conservatives all held signs and stayed within the designated free speech zone.

The students said they don't condone the university's decision since they believe black lives matter is full of anti-law enforcement rhetoric and condoning violence.

"As millennials, we're still going to take a stand, and that's why I give respect to the people who put the event on. They're taking an active role in trying to create that dialogue, and we're just trying to do the same on our end," said Cody Fongemie, a member of Coastal Carolina Conservatives. "There's two sides to every story and we want our side told."

While many students used the opportunities to discuss and debate the issues, all talks stayed civil. Some said that was the point of both the event and the protests.

"We want to make sure that our students, in a global way, are able to engage in rich dialogue, and I think this is an example of that," said Travis Overton, vice president of Student Rights and Responsibilities at CCU.

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