Jay Dawkins recalls campus response to hate speech written in the Free Expression Tunnel after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. Interview on May 21, 2014. (2:20)

Transcript

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I think the first time there was vandalism-this was before the election- 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:03.674
it wasn't as severe as after Obama was elected but it was enough to cause student leaders to be upset about it, 00:00:03.674 - 00:00:10.876
and we actually built this coalition of a lot of the campus organizational leaders coming together to one big kind of roundtable. 00:00:10.876 - 00:00:18.727
The chancellor's Roundtable, I think was the name of the meeting series, where this kind of came to a head. 00:00:18.727 - 00:00:27.135
I think the light bulb went off at some point in that meeting where it was: why are we demanding that the university do something about this, 00:00:27.135 - 00:00:34.634
when anything they do is going to be less effective, top-down, kind of very formal, than what we can do as a collective entity as students, 00:00:34.634 - 00:00:42.332
seeing the power in that thought. I think in that meeting was like the "aha" moment, 00:00:42.332 - 00:00:49.879
and because of that we got all these leaders together and created a statement of the things we believed as student leaders, that all people are welcome here, regardless of your race, your creed, you name it. 00:00:49.879 - 00:00:59.288
You are a member of this family and you deserve to have a great place to live and learn. 00:00:59.288 - 00:01:05.492
The moment that that really, I think, had power was when the bigger graffiti happened where it became essentially national news 00:01:05.492 - 00:01:15.588
and it was just this very, very painful thing for the campus. 00:01:15.588 - 00:01:20.960
I remember I was actually sitting at work when I found out about it, because I was doing a co-op that semester, 00:01:20.960 - 00:01:28.103
and I can't remember if it was Philip Christofferson or somebody else who said, "Hey, man. Somebody wrote some really bad stuff in the tunnel. What should we do?" 00:01:28.103 - 00:01:38.232
And I just said, "Well, I don't know. I guess just print out that agreement." 00:01:38.232 - 00:01:44.042
So there's a statement that says that we believe that NC State is an open, accepting, loving place and this is not who we are, 00:01:44.042 - 00:01:51.140
and it was not referencing the exact statements of that day but it was ready and it was relevant and it was on the wall. 00:01:51.140 - 00:01:56.959
So I immediately left work and came down and by the time I got there the signs had been up for maybe thirty minutes or an hour, 00:01:56.959 - 00:02:04.404
[Speaks with emotion] and I just remember the most powerful moment of my entire student leader experience was watching people sign onto that. 00:02:04.404 - 00:02:14.995

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