‘Moving Forward Through Violent Times’ looks to help UCCS cope with difficult topics

August 29, 2016

Dillon Taunton

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     Mass shootings, police violence and terror attacks are a few of the events that have dominated mass media in recent months.

     Due to the frequent tragedies, UCCS will host “Moving Forward through Violent Times,” scheduled for Aug. 31 from 1-2:30 p.m. in the third floor apse of the Kraemer Family Library.

     Sponsors of “Moving Forward Through Violent Times” include the Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Provost, Associate Vice Chancellor for Inclusion and Academic Engagement, the Kraemer Family Library “Just Talk” series and the Center for Religious Diversity in Public Life.

     Kee Warner, associate vice chancellor for Inclusion and Academic Engagement, said that recent occurrences such as the Nov. 27 Planned Parenthood shooting inspired the upcoming talk.

     “There have been a number of tragic events in recent months and really over the last year that I think all of us are experiencing and trying to make sense of.”

    Ways to respond to tragedies as students and a campus is what the discussion will focus on.

     “Campuses around the country are asking themselves the question, ‘What do we do to help our community, and can our students in particular get their heads around this?’”

     Individual student response will also be a part of the discussion.

     “We want to be sure there is time for people to get into small enough groups so that everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation,” he said.

     It will be important for students to learn from fallen officer Swasey, according to UCCS acting chief of police Marc Pino.

     “(Swasey) would want to tell people ‘I love you.’ These divisions we see now where everyone has a side; there isn’t really a unifying message,” said Pino.

     “That is what I took away most from his death is that idea of not dividing us, but unifying us through his message.”

     Warner hopes the talk will increase students’ understanding of what the UCCS community offers.

     “I expect students to know there are places where they can share their own feelings about tragic events and identify with other people that are grappling with the same issues; and do that in a setting that is mixed with students, staff and faculty.” he said.

     Talk circles including groups of four to five people with different perspectives will continue throughout the next year, said Warner.

     “We tend to talk with the people that are most like us, and these are exactly the issues where it is helpful to get an experience from someone that is not like us.”