‘Conversation Circles’ surrounding issues in Ferguson begin on Danforth Campus

In continuing the university’s role as a welcoming place to discuss issues surrounding the events in Ferguson, Mo., the Office of the Provost at Washington University in St. Louis, in coordination with the Gephardt Institute for Public Service and the Office of Human Resources, are beginning a series of “Conversation Circles” on the Danforth Campus on Thursday, Aug. 28.

“Faculty and staff members – some of whom live in the Ferguson area and have had direct experience – need a space to reflect about the images we’ve been seeing on television the last few weeks,” said Rochelle D. Smith, assistant provost and director of diversity, summer programs and community outreach for the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. “This is an answer to that, a series of conversations – based on specific themes and topics – in smaller settings designed to get the university community to connect, support, share feelings with each other and talk about what’s next.”

Conversations are scheduled to last one hour and are open to all Danforth Campus faculty and staff. They will be led by faculty and staff members experienced in facilitating conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion. No registration is required; staff and faculty can just drop in.

The schedule to date:

Thursday, Aug. 28: Reflections on the Ferguson tragedy: How are you coping and what is your reaction?
Noon Danforth University Center (DUC) 248
4:30p.m. Danforth University Center (DUC) 233

Wednesday, Sept. 3: Discussing Ferguson residents and their stories captured in the media
8:30 a.m. Green Hall L0159
Noon Olin Library Arc Presentation Room
4:30 p.m. Danforth University Center (DUC) 239

Wednesday, Sept. 10: What can we do now? What do we do now?
8:30 a.m. Cupples 1 218
8:30 a.m. Danforth University Center (DUC) 233
Noon Anheuser-Busch Hall Wright Jury Room (School of Law)
4:30 p.m. Danforth University Center (DUC) 242

“The focus will be on the voices in the room, but this is just the beginning,” Smith said. “We are looking at having more conversations in every school and in every major space on the Danforth Campus in the future.”