By Gregg Kaufman, ADP Campus Coordinator, Georgia College
The 8th year of the Georgia College Times Talk program is coming to an end this month. An unprecedented number of participants, over 1500 as of this writing, have gathered to address a variety of current and controversial topics. The Times Talk program has become a part of the university’s culture and is a dependable resource for quickly responding to campus as well as national and international issues. Student broadcast and print journalists trust the Wednesday Noon civil discourse as they cover the Wednesday sessions when reporting on specific stories.
A controversial and embarrassing incident occurred on campus this semester due to the “community-based vent application” Yik Yak. The app is designed to communicate anonymous comments relative to a specific locale and in the unfortunate case of GC, several insensitive racial statements targeting young campus visitors. As news spread about these prejudiced comments, a grass-roots response from students, faculty, and staff mobilized to use the incident to candidly dialogue about what some are referring to as racial “microaggressions.” To paraphrase the organizers, “How can we gather concerned people together to talk about this? Let’s see if this week’s Times Talk could be used to begin a conversation.”
Indeed, Times Talk became the starting point for what has become an ongoing dialogue as over 175 students attended a March 5 session and another 90 shared their thoughts at the following week’s Healing a Wounded Community Times Talk. The GC 360 weekly campus television show covered several Times talks over the course of the academic year. You can view these segments in the March 11 and April 1 broadcasts.
Times Talk also hosted a debate on the Georgia Legislature’s HB60 bill that expands gun-carrying legislation after which Times Talk participants engaged in Q&A with the Rhetoric student debaters. Times Talk will be used as the first hour of a Crimean Crisis: Democracy at Stake Teach-in on April 16.
While the weekly sessions provide a venue for discussing any number of current event issues, the Times Talk series also provides a dependable, “stewardship of place” resource that is responsive and adaptable to critical issues of interest to the campus community. Once more, it is important to note that the physical space for Times Talk is in a study area of the GC Library. No longer a bastion of quiet, the library becomes a public place for dialogue and pizza consumption!