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Chief Diversity Officer Michael Jennings to moderate community discussion on Confederate symbols

Michael Jennings

Furman University Chief Diversity Officer Michael Jennings will moderate a community forum in downtown Greenville on Thursday, Sept. 7 to discuss what to do with buildings, statues and symbols that honor Confederate leaders.

The forum, “What’s in a Name?,” is hosted by The Greenville News and begins at 6 p.m. in the Hughes Main Library at Heritage Green Place. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is also free.

The community discussion focuses on the petition brought by students at Wade Hampton High School to change the name of their alma mater. The three panelists from the community are Asha Marie, a student at the Fine Arts Center and Wade Hampton High School who is leading the movement to change the name of the school; Rev. Deb Richardson-Moore, pastor and director of the Triune Mercy Center; and David Taylor, an ordained minister and 1977 Wade Hampton graduate.

Jennings is Furman’s first Chief Diversity Officer. He aims to promote an understanding of and commitment to diversity that will benefit faculty, staff and students while also extending Furman’s diversity and inclusion efforts to the greater Greenville Community.

Prior to joining Furman in July this year, he was associate dean of the Consortium for Social Transformation at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Previously at UTSA, Jennings was assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and was named director of the African-American Studies Minor.

Before his roles at UTSA, Jennings was a lecturer at Tufts University, director of research and evaluation for Project SITE Support in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, and was assistant professor of education at Catholic University of America. He also taught courses in African-American Political Thought and African-American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jennings is the author of numerous papers, journal articles and book chapters, and is a co-editor of the soon-to-be-published book, Critical Storytelling in Uncritical Times, Volume II: Students Share Their Stories in Higher Education.

A graduate of Hampton University, Jennings earned a master’s in political science and a doctorate in Social Foundations of Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more information, contact the News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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