Round Table Discussion

Upcoming Events

Throughout the year, the University of Memphis and the Hooks Institute will hold a series of events designed to bring students, faculty, and staff from the University together with members of the Memphis community to address issues of social justice and change. As most events are planned, they will be added here.

Past Events

October 2017

October 3, 2017

free speech critical conversation university of memphisDrawing the Protest Line:
Freedom of Assembly, Speech, and Expression

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.| UC River Room (300)

What is free speech and why do we value it? What is the distinction between free speech and hate speech? How can students voice dissent without threatening the university's culture of inclusivity? What are guidelines for protest at public institutions?

Join us for a panel discussion on peaceful protest in university settings. Students from representative organizations will pose questions to a number of faculty and legal experts to facilitate a dialogue about the applications and limits of free speech. Topics include: "Unite the Right" Riot in Charlottesville, Virginia; NFL "Take a Knee" Protest of Police Brutality; Free Speech/Hate Speech on Campus; Peaceful Protest

free speech university of memphis critical conversationsFaculty/Legal Panelists: Otis Sanford, Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism, Melanie Murry, J.D., University Counsel, Latosha Dexter, J.D., Deputy University Counsel, John Michael Ryall, J.D., Assistant University Counsel, Daphene McFerren, J.D., Executive Director, Benjamin L. Hooks Institute of Social Justice, Justin Lawhead, Ed.D., Dean of Students, and other active scholars and attorneys

Student Panelists: Kevyanna Rawls, Vice President of The Student Government Association and Leaders of other Student Organizations


September 2017

DACA: Its Impact on University Communities

September 8, 2017 | Noon – 1:30 pm | Zone of the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT)

On September 8, 2017, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Zone of the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT), the Critical Conversations Committee will host the first in a series of sessionsto discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its impact on University communities.

 The featured speaker is Tatine Darker, Esq., an immigration specialist.  University administrators, scholars, and Legal Counsel will also be on hand to facilitate the discussion and to address students’ questions in particular. We encourage all students, faculty and staff to attend.


February 2017

February 8, 2017

immigrationeofeb2017

The Impact of the Executive Order on Immigration

February 8, 2017 | 11:00 am. River Room, the Univerisity of Memphis

November 2016

Free Speech on the University Campus
November 9, 2016 | 12:00 PM

12:00 PM Reception | 12:30 PM Program
University Center, Ballroom A | University of Memphis

Free and Open to the Public Food will be served

Watch Free Speech on the University Campus!

Universities across the globe are grappling with the issue of "Free Speech" in classrooms and on campus communities. Some believe that free speech is under attack. Others believe that there is too much protection for abusive or hateful language. Should speech be monitored? Should trigger warnings be added before discussion of sensitive classroom discussions and texts? Where do we draw the line between freedom and abuse, and between sensitivity and censorship?

On November 9, 2016, Professor Steve Mulroy of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will facilitate the Critical Conversations forum on free speech.

Topics will include:

• What is free speech and why do we value it?
• Where is the divide between free speech and hate speech?
• How do free speech and academic freedom intersect?

Students, representatives from the Offices of Legal Counsel, Conference and Event Planning, Police Services, and the President's Council will be on hand to discuss the University of Memphis' policies and position on free speech.

This event is co-sponsored by: Director of Diversity Initiatives/Office of the Provost; The Critical Conversations Committee at the University of Memphis; the Office of Legal Counsel; the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis, and the Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs.

This is a Critical Conversations Initiative.  The goal of the Critical Conversations is to use our collective scholarship to sustain and facilitate a democratic civil society that values diversity, civil rights, human rights, and nonviolent movements and initiatives.


 

October 2015

Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change Open House

Panel Discussion: The Hot Summer of 2015: The Nation Faces Old and Retooled Forms of Racial Discrimination: The Intractable Issue of Race in America
University of Memphis, Michael D. Rose Theater, 4:30pm reception, 5:00pm open house

Topics under discussion include:

  • The Black Lives Matter Movement
  • The Charleston Shootings
  • Policing in Poor and Minority Communities
  • Poverty and Opportunities for Marginalized Groups

How do we move our community and nation forward on these issues?
Panelists who are leading efforts on these fronts will lead the discussion.

Panelists include:

  • Jennifer Stollman, PhD, Academic Director and Consultant in Detecting and Eliminating Institutional and Interpersonal Biases, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi
  • Shelia Peters, PhD, Associate Professor, Fisk University, Former Director of the Fisk Race Relations Institute, with expertise in providing training for cultural competence in communities, institutions and systems of care
  • Earle Fisher, MDiv, Preacher, Writer, Social Activist, and co-spokesperson of the Memphis Grassroots Organizations which stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Moderator:

Andre E. Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor, U of M, Rhetoric, Politics and Society with Emphasis on African American culture

This event is free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by: Director of Diversity Initiatives/Office of the Provost and The Critical Conversations Committee at the University of Memphis. Convenient and affordable parking available in the public garage on Zach Curlin St. For additional Information about this event, please contact the Hooks Institute at 678-3974.


The Hunting Ground Film Showing

October 6, 2015, Michael D. Rose Theater, 1:00-3:30 PM and 7:00-9:30 PM

A viewing of this engaging and provocative documentary on sexual assaults on college campus and the alleged failure of university administrators to pursue aggressive action against student assailants. The documentary trailer is available here. This event is free and open to the public. Students from area colleges and universities are particularly encouraged to attend. Convenient and affordable parking is available in the Zach Curlin Garage.

Kirby Dick, writer/director of documentary is a panelist.

This event is sponsored by the the Director of Diversity Initiatives/Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Women, the Critical Conversations Committee, and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. For more information contact Dr. Carol Danehower at crow@memphis.edu.

sEPTEMBER 2015

Community Leaders Meeting for Critical Conversations

September 21, 2015, University of Memphis, Michael D. Rose Theatre, 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Through an engaging discussion among students, faculty, staff, and the Memphis community about key issues that impact our city and nation, we hope to sustain and facilitate a democratic civil society that values diversity, civil rights, human rights, and nonviolent movements and initiatives. In order to make this program a success and effect positive change, we need the support and collaboration of leaders and organizations from the broader Memphis area. The purpose of this meeting is to identify and implement tactics that facilitate this collaboration among the U of M and community leaders.


The Hot Summer of 2015: The Nation Faces Old and Retooled Forms of Racial Discrimination: The Intractable Issue of Race

September 16, 2015: Lunch/Student Discussion (limit 30 students)
October 01, 2015: Lunch/Student Discussion (limit 30 students)
The September 16th and October 1st events are open only to students and faculty facilitators.

These lunch-time discussions will focus on the Charleston Shootings, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Rachel Dolezal matter, and the continuing relevance of race in American life. Articles to facilitate discussion will be posted to the Critical Conversations website two weeks prior to the first event.

This event is sponsored by the Director of Diversity Initiatives/Office of the Provost, the Critical Conversations Committee, the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, and Multicultural Affairs.


APRIL 2015

The Final Word: The Supreme Court, Marriage, Same Sex Couples, and the Constitution

April 1, 2015, 4:30 PM Reception, 5 PM Program, University Center, Ballroom C, University of Memphis
Free and Open to the Public

The hotly contested issue of who one can marry has come before the United States Supreme Court twice in two different contexts. In 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court struck down state laws that banned interracial marriages. Almost 50 years later, on April 8, 2015, in DeBoer v. Synder, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the following two constitutional questions: 1) can a state legally refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples?; and 2) must a state legally recognize marriages of same sex couples legally wed in other states? Two of the plaintiffs in the DeBoer case, Ijpe DeKoe and Thomas Kostura, from Tennessee, are joined by couples from Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio in their challenge to state laws that do not recognize same-sex marriages.

At this event, plaintiffs DeKoe, Kostura, and their attorney Maureen T. Holland from Memphis, TN will discuss the constitutional issues involved in this case.

This event is free and open to the public.

This event is co-sponsored by the Director of Diversity Initiatives and the Office of the Provost; The Critical Conversations Committee at the University of Memphis; the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis; the Helen Hardin Honors Program; Outlaw American Constitution Society; Stonewall Tigers; and the Honors Student Council. This is a Critical Conversations Initiative. The goal of the Critical Conversations is to use our collective scholarship to sustain and facilitate a democratic civil society that values diversity, civil rights, human rights, and nonviolent movements and initiatives.


 mARCH 2015

Brown (Ferguson, MO), Garner and Martin: Police and Social Justice

Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, University Center Theatre (UC 145) with reception to follow

The University of Memphis' Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will host the panel discussion "Brown, Garner and Martin: Police and Social Justice." In the wake of the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Antonio Martin and Eric Garner, African-American and other communities are grappling with the fairness of American institutions and their processes, including the criminal courts, the grand jury and law enforcement, while others view law enforcement and the administration of criminal justice as fair and just. How do we as a community and nation bridge these divided opinions and experiences? How do we as a nation protect the rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all people? What issues are at play in policing diverse communities and in the use of deadly force? What are the roles and responsibilities of the prosecutor, the grand jury and the criminal courts? How can citizens improve or change these processes to promote civility, democratic ideals, fairness and equality?

Dr. K.B. Turner, Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, will moderate the discussion.
The Panelists include:
· Anthony Berryhill, Deputy Director, Memphis Police Department
· Earle Fischer, Pastor, Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, PhD student in Rhetoric
· Daphene McFerren, Director, The Benjamin L. Hook's Institute for Social Change
· Trey Moore, Criminal Justice Graduate Student, University of Memphis
· Steven Mulroy, Professor of Law, University of Memphis
· Mary Tucker, Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Memphis

This event is free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to express their views during the Q&A session.

This event is co-sponsored by the Director of Diversity Initiatives and Office of the Provost, the Critical Conversations Committee at the University of Memphis, and the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. This is a Critical Conversations Initiative. The goal of the Critical Conversations is to use our collective scholarship to sustain and facilitate a democratic civil society that values diversity, civil rights, human rights, and nonviolent movements and initiatives.