Events bring university community together to reflect, move forward

Respectful dialogue, calls to action as semester begins in wake of unrest surrounding Ferguson

The first week of the 2014 fall semester at Washington University in St. Louis began in the wake of unrest in the area that followed the Aug. 9 death in Ferguson, Mo., of African-American teenager Michael Brown.

Events were planned not only for students to lend a voice to the issues, but to encourage all members of the community, both on the Danforth and School of Medicine campuses, to come together in an open and welcoming atmosphere.

A community-wide website, Wash U Voices, was created as a portal for voices and opinions from all perspectives in blog form, as well as a calendar of events to keep the community informed of planned activities both the first week and in the future.

A group of students began the week on Aug. 25, the first day of classes, by joining in the “Hands Up, Walk Out” march, a nationwide, grass-roots event which urged marchers to join together not as university students, but as members of the St. Louis community.

A series of faculty and staff discussions and “Conversation Circles” began the first week on both campuses and will continue into September and beyond.

The week culminated in a community-wide forum Aug. 28 titled “Race, Place, and Violence: A University-Wide Dialogue About Michael Brown” that attracted a standing-room-only audience in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium.

(To view a video of the entire forum, visit here​.)

Some images from the week on campus:

Click a thumbnail to view slideshow