‘Marketplace of Ideas’: Davies seeks student-help

Jenny Rohl/The News President Bob Davies addresses the Board of Regents during a meeting.

Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor

President Bob Davies sent an email Monday afternoon to all students, faculty and staff urging them to share advice and wisdom on how to further Murray State as the “Marketplace of Ideas” during a time of tension within the United States.

“Over the past year, and with increased intensity, we are witnessing a time in the history of our country where issues of race, equality, social justice and concerns of personal safety are being raised,” Davies wrote in the email.

The email included a link to a Google form titled “Campus Climate Strategy Proposals” and included questions regarding initiating cultural change and how to make the proposal happen, including questions about necessary resources and inclusion of regional campuses.

“Recognizing that our campus community has some incredible insights, we’re asking everyone to share their ideas and suggestions,”  said Adrienne King, vice president of University Advancement. “The online form idea was generated as an easy way to gather this advice from all of our campus community.”

King said Davies will assemble a task force that represents faculty, staff, students and alumni. The taskforce will review the submitted ideas and provide recommendations to university leadership. The university will fulfill many of the ideas at the beginning of the academic year.

Davies said this process follows Murray State’s community pledge and its four principles of accepting one another, learning from one another, creating an atmosphere of positive engagement and challenging bigotry.

“To create this environment of sharing, reflecting and learning, I am asking for your help and leadership,” Davies wrote. “There are many individuals within our community who have ideas on how best to address and discuss the issues that are before us dealing with race, privilege and power, social inequities, prejudices, the power of culture diversity and the role of a university to empower new ideas, thoughts and actions.”     

Bryce Martin, senior from Taylorsville, Kentucky said he isn’t sure if he will be participating in the form as he doesn’t like that his name would have to be included and he said he hasn’t thought of a decent idea yet.

“I think that it would have a far greater impact if students and student organizations were leading the way in this and not the university administration,” Martin said. “To be perfectly honest I get so many emails from the university about things, which are good causes I’m sure, but it all becomes white noise after a while.”

Martin said the Google form is a valid idea for getting these necessary discussions going.

“We are all adults here, this is an institution of higher learning so let’s act like it,” he said.

King said race relations will be a main focus of the 2017 Presidential Lecture Series and will include discussion on the role the Murray State plays in facilitating the Marketplace of Ideas concept.

According to the email, those who wish to participate in the survey must submit their responses using the Google form linked in the email by Nov. 18.