Arts, Faith and Humanities / Campus Community / Society, Justice and Law

This Year's Common Text program addresses racial justice

September 11, 2020

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Each year the university selects a text or texts to launch the academic year for incoming students. Incoming students receive the year’s Common Text over the summer, and the issues it raises are incorporated into some classes and pursued in a year-long series of programs built around the themes.

This year, rather than having just one text, organizers selected a number of resources.

“Given the events of the past several months, with the renewed calls for justice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, and the new challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Common Text team has provided our incoming students in Fall 2020 with a digital suite of texts (articles, videos and podcasts) on the themes of race, racism and citizenship in the United States today, Hilary Hawley and Michelle Etchart, coordinators of the Common Text program, wrote to campus this month.

“We are excited about the opportunities these texts provide and look forward to the intersections they offer with the excellent work of our colleagues and campus programs on these topics,” wrote Hawley, a senior instructor of English and director of Core Learning and Engagement Programs, and Etchart, assistant vice president of Student Development and interim director of orientation. “The programming will create opportunities for collaboration across programs and aligns with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the broader work around racial equity and anti-racist education.”

“These (resources) pick up where SU left off last spring with Ijeoma Oluo’s book So You Want to Talk About Race, and anticipate another critical conversation about what U.S. citizenship means, to be continued in Fall 2021 when the Common Text will be Jose Antonio Vargas’s book, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.”

The Core Office plans to sponsor multiple events this year featuring SU faculty. To see the full list of texts, please visit Common Text or e-mail hawleyh@seattleu.edu with questions.

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