Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

"Before It Happens" debuts on campus

Dr. Evelyn Campbell, Vice President and Dean of Student Life, discusses “Before It Happens” being at Augustana. Photo by Shemal Serma.

Every Tuesday this year, Provost Pareena Lawrence and Dean Evelyn Campbell are reserving Gavle room 1 to discuss any concerns that the students, staff, and faculty members may have on the Augustana campus.
By introducing this new program, “Before It Happens”, Dean Campbell and Provost Lawrence hope to create a an all-inclusive community where students and faculty can discuss hard topics in a safe environment. 
“Before It Happens” was a goal made by Dean Campbell and Provost Pareena Lawrence when they discussed issues on various campuses this summer. Campbell made the comment at the session on Aug. 30 that they “wanted to find a way to be really proactive and reach out” to campus so tough conversations can happen in a safe space.
The conversations talked about varied from previous incidents to future possibilities that could happen.  
One of the main points spoken at the session was our freedom of speech here at Augustana. While both Dean Campbell and Provost Lawrence encourage these rights, they mention that there is a line between a person’s opinions and harmful speech.
Lawrence said that “We don’t ban speech because it makes an individual feel unsafe, but if there is something in that speech that’s inciting others to create an unsafe space, I think that’s where we would come in.”
Another important topic discussed was the administration and their responses to student concerns. An example of this is when some students had previously mentioned their concerns towards the non-acknowledgement of Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year.
Tayvian Johnson, a former student and now Resident Director of Erickson and Swanson attended the session and added to the discussion, mentioning that “This is the conversation that needs to be happening, there’s always going to be something that students don’t like… I think these are the types of things that need to be happening.”
Topics such as burglary, prioritizing funding on campus, trigger warnings, and the freedom of art displayed on campus were also discussed throughout.
Other faculty members in attendance included Chris Beyer, Director of Residential Life, Sam Schlouch, executive director of public relations, communication and marketing, and Carla Tracy, Director of the Thomas Tredway Library.
“Before It Happens” will take place in Gavle room 1 every Tuesday morning from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

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"Before It Happens" debuts on campus