Student groups offer programs on Ferguson

By: Lydia Rogers ~Campus News Editor~

Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Black Student Association and Campus Police discuss civil unrest in Ferguson

The civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., has led many Xavier students and faculty members to take action on campus.

On Aug. 9, protests and civil disorder broke out in Ferguson after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. Tensions between residents and police officers developed at a number of memorial services, which over time developed into riots, looting, arrests and police marches.

The violence in Ferguson has reopened the door for conversations about police brutality, and the conversation has now come to Xavier’s campus.

On Sept. 17, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA) and the Black Student Association (BSA) held the “We Matter” program in the Multicultural, Gender and Women’s Center.

The event was an open discussion among students and Xavier Police Sgt. Shawn Bryce. Students spoke freely about their experiences with Xavier Police and their thoughts about Ferguson.

“The end goal was to strengthen the Xavier student body, build bridges between the students and our own police department and to further enact positive change within the community,” BSA president Sara Bediako said.

On Sept. 20, Common Ground facilitated a worship service on the Husman Stage that took a more spiritual approach to the events in Ferguson.

Associate Professor Dr. Adam Clark preached at the service and presented the events in Ferguson through a theological framework.

Clark referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and related the events of the civil rights movement to the instability in Ferguson.

“One thing that Dr. King talked about was that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Clark said. “We are all interconnected at some level so we should be concerned about our brothers and sisters and our fellow citizens.”

Clark also related his sermon directly to Xavier’s Jesuit heritage.

“Part of it was deepening the Jesuit identity of the school of being a person for others,” Clark said. “We wanted to express that sensibility of Cura Personalis, caring for the whole person, so I think some of issues that are raised in the situation in Ferguson are deeply aligned with our Jesuit heritage at the school.”