Campus conversation held on issues related to race at Elon

Nearly 100 students, faculty and staff met on Jan. 26 at a forum sponsored by the Black Cultural Society and The Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education.  

A campus conversation prompted by a recent bias incident on campus allowed students to talk about their experiences at Elon and call for solutions to fight bias and discrimination. The forum followed a report on Jan. 21 by a female student who identifies as Black/African American. She reported that two college-age white males yelled derogatory sexual and racial slurs at her from a car as she was standing on Haggard Avenue near the Numen Lumen Pavilion. Campus police are investigating the incident and looking for those who were responsible.

Jamie Butler, assistant director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE), said the campus conversation was held to give voice to the issues that plague the Elon community. In relating experiences of bias they have experienced, African American students asked, “What is it about Elon that makes it OK to behave this way?” Some students read aloud racist and offensive postings they have seen on social media systems, such as Yik Yak and Twitter.

Those attending the forum discussed the questions in small groups. Then students addressed the full group and related incidents they have observed. “There’s a lot of hurt in the room,” one student said.

Some students expressed frustration that the campus conversation drew fewer than 100 people, and that most of those in attendance were black or brown. Some suggested Elon require diversity education courses, possibly as part of the university’s Experiential Learning Requirement. Others called for more minority leaders on campus, and one suggested better publicity about the ways to report incidents of bias and discrimination and the consequences for those who are found responsible for such incidents.

Butler issued a challenge to the majority population of the university to become active allies of minority students. “The burden doesn’t need to be on students of color,” she said. “We’ve told our stories – you know.”

Butler said the work to end bias at Elon will be hard and long, and that success will happen in small steps. To continue the conversation during spring semester, she announced a series of three “Race & Ethnicity Allyship” student workshops that will be sponsored by The CREDE on Feb. 20, March 13 and April 10.

For more information, contact Carla Fullwood, associate director of The CREDE (, or Cherrel Dyce, assistant professor of education and faculty fellow for The CREDE (

More information: Reporting bias, discrimination, harassment and/or violence at Elon

Elon University believes that one way we create a more respectful environment is addressing those acts toward members of our community or by members of our community that demonstrate identity-based bias and hate toward an individual or group. Our goals are to support and respond to those who have experienced identity-based hate, to respond directly to offenders if identified, and to track the overall incidents in our community each year.

Reporting an Incident

By tracking the type and number of bias incidents in addition to hate crimes, we are able to tailor educational efforts for our campus community. There are several ways you can report an incident that you witness or hear about:

If you are in danger, call 911

Campus Safety and Police – 336-278-5555

Anonymous Online Reporting System –

Director of Inclusive Community Well-Being or Process Advocates – 336-278-5017

Confidential SAFEline – 336-278-3333

SAFEline is a confidential phone line for Elon community members who have experienced, are experiencing or have questions about identity-based bias, discrimination or harassment as well as sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking. Calls into SAFEline are answered immediately by dispatchers who only require a number to give the confidential responder. A confidential advocate will call you back within 20 minutes. The SAFEline confidential advocate will provide over the phone or in-person support and resources. The advocate can provide individuals information about reporting and other options for support.

Confidential Resources

If you choose to report confidentially, we appreciate your willingness and courage to disclose your experience or an act that you witnesses or heard about. There are multiple ways to confidentially report identity-based bias incidents or hate crimes:

Safeline Confidential Phoneline – 336-278-3333

Coordinator for Violence Response – 336-278-5009

Counseling Services – 336-278-7280

Counselor on Call – 336-278-5555

• Your personal religious leader/person of faith (i.e. ordained staff members of the Truitt

Center for Religious and Spiritual Life)