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SIU hosts virtual town hall on systemic racism in higher education

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Southern Illinois University hosted a virtual town hall for alumni, students and staff Monday to discuss systemic racism in higher education.

System president Dan Mahony says it's the first of many town halls the university plans to hold this year. Mahony says the goal of the discussion is to listen and make lasting changes.

"As universities we do one or two small things that are fairly symbolic and then we move on and then do everything how we've always done," Mahony said. "That's not our goal this time."

The town hall began at 5 p.m. and opened with comments from panelists representing the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

The discussion was broadcast on the Board of Trustees' YouTube channel. School officials monitored the chat board and took questions from those who participated.

The talks come as protests continue in the wake of George Floyd's death. It also comes on the heels of a video that emerged over the weekend showing an SIU student using racial slurs and wearing a confederate emblem.

Mahony called the comments disturbing, disappointing and unacceptable. He adds that both schools must have right policies and procedures to "truly be an anti-racist organization."

You can watch the entire two-hour town hall by clicking here.

Danny Valle

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