TECTalk: Time for Tolerance will allow students and members of the East Carolina University community to discuss what tolerance at ECU means to them.
Editor in Chief of The East Carolinian (TEC) and senior English major Jenna Price said TECTalk: Time for Tolerance will be held on Oct. 17 in the Mendenhall Great Rooms one and two beginning at 6 p.m. The event will hold a panel of guest speakers along with a Q&A session.
“We are hoping to generate a discussion revolving around what tolerance is and why it’s important that not just students, but people exercise tolerance,” Price said.
The topic of tolerance for TECTalks was inspired by President Donald Trump’s visit to East Carolina University’s campus over the summer, Price said. During Trump’s visit, a racist chant was created which caused ECU to be known as the place where the chants started, she said.
TECTalk is hoping to teach students what tolerance is and when it is appropriate to use tolerance in their everyday lives, Price said. She said the difference between opinion and what is wrong are two different things.
“People differ in opinions constantly, everyone has an opinion and people should know how to tolerate those opinions, however, if those opinions are hurtful or damaging to other people, is tolerance the right step? Like what should be tolerated and what shouldn’t be tolerated?” Price said.
TECTalk will be hosted by TEC which is a division of Pirate Media 1, Price said. TEC is hosting the panel to discuss recent controversial events on campus, she said. This will create a forum for students and professors to discuss how they feel about tolerance, according to Price.
“We (The East Carolinian) felt it was important to be involved with the students in a more face to face way than our typical twice a week publication,” Price said.
Representatives from ECU Political Science department, ECU Sociology department, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) will be present, Price said. She said she will be moderating the event.
Price said she will ask the first few questions and then turn the discussion over to the audience so she, the panelists and the audience may have a conversation.
“It was important to us that the panel featured ECU Students so we reached out to different contacts that we have through the newspaper, different sources we have in certain departments and just sort of in a way cultivated people we thought would bring insightful and important opinions to the panel,” Price said.
If the TECTalk goes well, TEC is hoping to make it a semesterly event with a topic relevant to what students are talking about and issues impacting ECU, Price said.
One member of the panel, Kris Rixon, is a sociology graduate student at ECU and second vice chair for the Pitt County Democrats. Rixon ran for the North Carolina legislature in 2018 against now-Congressman Greg Murphy.
Rixon said he comes from a working class background and is openly gay, therefore he knows what gets thrown at people in marganalized communities when they try to step up to a leadership position and the intolerance for marganilized people.
Rixon faced intolerance due to his sexual orientation and his age, he said. He said he hopes more young people would take leadership positions to make changes necessary for their communities.
Rixon said when someone threatens another person’s dignity and identity, someone has become intolerable.
“Tolerance means being comfortable and accepting of other peoples’ identities, so long as those identities don’t infringe on that person’s human rights,” Rixon said.
There have been local discussions about Trump and Murphy, who was on stage with Trump, Rixon said. He said it is important to be a panel member so people can know that ECU can be an inclusive and diverse community.
Rixon said the event will give those who need their voices heard the opportunity to “elevate” their voices.
President of ECU NAACP and junior political science communication Kamari Purvis said he leads an organization of around 80 minority students. NAACP advocates for minority students to have seats at the table and integration on campus while promoting unity.
“I feel like I have a very wide, a very understanding perspective, but I definitely just want to be the voice of the students that are not heard often, I feel like sometimes, minority students, specifically black student, voices can go unheard. I don’t mean to speak for them but I do mean to stand as representation of them,” Purvis said.
Purvis said he plans to bring up challenging perspectives such as underlying issues at ECU whether or not they’re prevalent. There are issues minority students don’t often get to voice, he said.
Inclusion, true diversity and true integration are some of the topics Purvis said he doesn’t feel like get talked about enough on campus.
“We scream diversity but there’s not true diversity. Other than classroom procedure, when you can choose your own group project, you still find yourself grouped with people who look just like you, so I definitely want to talk about the issue of integration and the issue of segregation on campus,” Purvis said.
Purvis said we can work on issues such as integration at ECU by providing better spaces that encourage students from different walks of life to come into one setting.
Often times when people say their opinion or perspective they don’t have tolerance to understand others perspectives and opinions, Purvis said. To unite, integrate and come together as one, he said people need to learn tolerance and tolerate others circumstances.
“Tolerance I think is a very important word when it comes to 2019, when it comes to 2020. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand the difference of understanding and don’t really practice tolerance that often,” Purvis said.
Purvis said it is important to be apart of the panel because he will be able to set an example and be a reminder to people who look like him that they’re never too young to lead. He said he looks forward to being able to talk with people who have the same love for ECU and the community, about different ideologies and how to find a middle ground.