Chancellor explains ‘Virtual Town Hall’ for campus

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State University wants to include discussion among students, faculty, and alumni about things they can improve upon on campus and they’re doing it by providing a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, June 4.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse says this online setting will allow everyone to be included and heard.

The university did its first test run a couple of weeks ago with faculty and staff.

Now, he’s ready to hear from students.

“I want to make sure everyone on our campus feels heard and you can’t hear someone unless you listen to them.

You can’t listen to them unless you create opportunities to do that,” he says.

Students will get to join the online meeting Thursday.

Damphousse says Dr. Maurice Gipson, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement, will moderate the meetings.

Members of the chancellor’s cabinet will also be in attendance.

Once students sign-on, they can click on a ‘raise hand’ option and then will be allowed to speak.

Damphousse says students can also anonymously ask questions.

“Our goal in these town halls is to provide opportunities for people to speak, for their voices to be heard and then for us to be able to listen, and to improve,” he says.

In addition to the change, he also addressed pressing issues with African-American students via email over the weekend.

He then sent a campus-wide email on Monday.

“It was an email that told them that I understood that they had concerns.

Second, I can’t understand what they’re feeling.

An older, white male can’t understand what young black Americans are feeling,” he says.

He went on to add that he has a responsibility to act on their behalf to protect them.

“I want them to know that I was there for them and that if I had to stand beside them I would be happy to do that, but if I had to stand in front of them, I was happier to do that as well,” he says.

Any issues discussed in the virtual town hall meeting on Thursday will be addressed as quickly as possible.

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