By Sydni Anderson, Staff writer
Despite being hosted in a Murray State dining facility, African-American Night was less about food and more about diversity and culture.
Students and faculty gathered to speak about African-American history on at Winslow Dining Hall on Feb. 22. Jazz music played in the intervals between speakers, and laughter could be heard from nearby tables. Students who answered black history trivia questions correctly received prizes.
The event was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Black Student Council and the National Panhellenic Council.
S.G. Carthell, senior director of diversity initiatives, said he wanted to provide an informative program centered on eating good food and having a good time.
“Basically, we just wanted to come out and share some African-American facts and history in a kind of light-hearted way where folks could learn about the culture,” he said.
Carthell said he thinks Murray State does a good job handling diversity on campus, although there is always room for improvement.
“We do better than most,” Carthell said. “This is a campus where, when injustices or things happen, people come together. Students have come together to support students that were not like them. I think this campus is fairly tolerant of different views.”
Karvontay Stephenson, president of Black Student Council from Louisville, Kentucky, agreed with Carthell and gave a student’s perspective on the matter.
“We take it to heart,” Stephenson said. “We make sure that, although we have our own races, we branch out and make sure that other people are included in the things that we do and make people feel welcome here at Murray State.”
Jade Townsley, junior from Paducah, Kentucky, said she feels like multicultural students are well-represented on campus.
“Bob Davies does a really good job with diversity,” Townsley said.
Prior to the event, the NAACP caucus of Black Student Council hosted a memorial service for people affected by racism and those who they’ve lost. Carthell said students of different races came out to support and people passing by also contributed.
“We had a candle that caught on fire with the paper,” Carthell said. “A young man walked by and helped put it out. He wasn’t even a part of it, but he wanted to help. That’s the kind of campus we have.”
Carthell said it is up in the air whether the event will be annual, and it’s not unusual for the Office of Multicultural Affairs to have one-time events.
Stephenson said Black Student Council is always open to teaming up with other organizations and supporting them.
“We just want to make the campus as diverse and included as we can,” Stephenson said.