COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Friday afternoon, a panel made up of teachers, students, and community members of all different backgrounds spoke about how important it is for the University of South Carolina to be diverse and inclusive.
This conversation just happened to be scheduled during a week when racism became an issue at the school. Earlier this week, A now-former student at the university shared a selfie of several girls, with a caption using a racial slur. By Wednesday, the girl who posted the Snapchat was no longer a student.
"Anytime that something like this happens, the best thing we can do is come together and I think that's something that USC is really good at," said Anna Combs, who moderated the event.
Members of the diverse panel see this week’s incident as a setback but hope it will bring about a positive change.
"You know I think a very difficult situation can sometimes shine light on good work. So, I think that it was timing. I think we are really in a season of change all across the county," said Nigel Word, a member of the panel.
This discussion was organized in December by the Sigma Omega Upsilon, a business fraternity on campus. The goal was to encourage students to work together to create a more accepting environment.
"I think the importance will always be the same, in all honesty,” said Micah-Rafael Hall, another member of the panel. “Diversity and inclusion will always be relevant no matter what happens in the world and so at the end of the day, if we are not paying attention to it, things like that on Monday are going to happen."
According to the school’s website, African Americans make up more than 10% of the undergraduate population while white students make up more than 76%.
“I realized that I didn’t know much about diversity and inclusion and the best way to do that is to talk about it,” said Elaine Swibel. “And just having such a different group of people up here to talk about their experiences and how we can do better as a community, I think I learned a lot.”