“I understand how political cycles swing — they ebb and flow,” she said. “I also understand … being idealistic and expecting a certain outcome and it not materializing, so there is a lot of anxiety in the air.”
“We have been listening to your stories,” said Renee Alexander ’74, associate dean and director of intercultural programs, student and academic services. “[This dinner] is a way to work together, establishing commonalities as we work across differences.”
Speaking to nearly 90 students, administrators and faculty members on Thursday, Alexander encouraged them to speak openly about race and campus climate with each other over a meal. The “Breaking Bread” dinner, held in the Biotechnology Building, was filled with 10 tables with about eight participants each. The dinner and the small group setting aimed to allow participants to feel comfortable expressing their feelings and sharing their personal stories in a safe space. To stimulate and direct conversation at the tables, facilitators posed three questions to participants, asking individuals to elaborate on their experiences with issues including race in higher education and how the University and members of the community can act in the future to better the campus climate.