SGA held its monthly town hall meeting Oct. 4, on the topic of Free Speech, encouraging students to participate in frank discussions about the role of safe spaces and advocacy for Elon University students.
The setting of the event was different from others in the past, as SGA moved the affair out of their office, downstairs into the core of the Moseley Student Center.
“We are going to where the students are,” said SGA Executive President Kenneth Brown, Jr. said. “We’re changing the way leadership is done.”
Noah Dyson, sophomore vice president, moderated the discussion. One student started the conversation by saying college students express freedom of speech in numerous ways from papers to protests. Another suggested that while the First Amendment is present, it doesn’t mean student’s can’t be held responsible for what they say — especially if it is harmful or disrespectful to one another.
“I worry our generation has lost the grace factor after what people say, on both sides of the political spectrum and at universities,” said SGA Executive Secretary Jack Johnson
Many students agreed with how they’re unsure why so many people “cancel each other out,” just because they disagree with one another. As the conversation started to wrap up, it seemed almost everyone in the room was on the same page — that the vast majority of people here would not want to offend others, inside the classroom and out.
“I think, for the most part, the ideals discussed throughout the night are already a reality at Elon. That being said, there is always room for improvement,” Brown said. “It looked like we had around 40 people here, and I saw a lot of non-SGA members, so I am very pleased, but I know we can get more people out.”
With one of SGA’s goals also being to bring more diversity in the senate to have more discussions like these, Johnson said he thinks the organization is heading in the right direction.
“I believe [Brown] has solved that, through his outstanding selection of diverse appointments, all coming from different identities, backgrounds, and beliefs, to reach out to constituents, who work to build on tonight’s discussion,” he said.