SMU student leaders host town meeting, discuss incidents of hateful behavior on campus

A group of SMU student leaders from multiple organizations hosted a town meeting in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum to discuss recent incidents of hateful behavior on campus, and culture clashes in the community on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m.

Concerned students Biko McMillan, Taylor Nickens, Brianna Hogg, Marcus McNeil and Naomi Samuel led the meeting titled “A Call to Action.”

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Other SMU student leaders and faculty members were invited to discuss episodes happening on campus and propose solutions to incite positive change.

Biko McMillan, Taylor Nickens, Brianna Hogg, Marcus McNeil and Naomi Samuel led the meeting titled “A Call to Action.” Photo credit: Olivia Nguyen

The speakers gave a presentation, first discussing the most recent events of hate crimes reported on campus: a sign saying “We Gon’ Be Alright” posted in front of the SMU Multicultural House that was crumpled and torn down on Nov. 10 and anti-black fliers found across campus on Nov. 11.

Jose Santoyo posted a photo of the sign “We Gon’ Be Alright” in front of the Multicultural house before it was torn down. Photo credit: Facebook Jose Santoyo


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Anti-black fliers were found across campus on Nov. 11. Photo credit: Olivia Nguyen

They also discussed offensive incidents that occurred on campus in October 2015. These include racist posts toward people of color on the anonymous-user app Yik Yak, and a racially-offensive Greek party themed “Ice Age.”

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Addressing these events, McMillan said “we have to find solutions or these problems will happen time and time again.”

He attributed multiple SMU organizations like the Women’s Interest Network and SMU counseling services, University administration and president R. Gerald Turner for listening and being supportive, but emphasized change should start among students.


Hogg then took the floor, changing topics from hateful incidents on campus to harassment and hate crimes reported in the U.S. since Donald Trump was elected president.

The presentation reported over 300 hate crimes and harassment incidents were reported since Trump was elected president. Photo credit: The Daily Campus


She said “over 300 cases have been reported since Trump was elected president” and take places like “businesses” and “grade schools,” affecting citizens of all ages, especially ones in “kindergarten through grade 12.”

The student leaders stressed how these incidents show their “livelihood is at stake.” The members then opened the floor to discussion, where attendants proposed possible solutions to make SMU a safer, more accepting institution.

After listening to suggestions of strategies and solutions by SMU student leaders and community members, the five students gave their final statements.

McMillan reiterated the importance of ushering open dialogue to create a culture change in the community.

“Please have those conversations,” he said.

Nickens also introduced the hashtag #WeWillBeValued created by the students, alluding to the Values Statement at SMU, to promote culture change on campus.

The Embrey Human Rights Program will host another meeting titled “Defending Dignity” on Nov. 18 at Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum and “continue this conversation”.

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