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Forums allow for discussion before and after Ride

Pre-Ride forum: April 17

A week before the Equality Ride, a forum was held in the auditorium so that Eastern Students could come and learn about the event before it happened the following Monday.

The forum was led by a panel of the administrators including President David Black, Chaplain Joe Modica, Vice President for Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham, theology professor Margaret Kim Peterson and current SGA president Adam Brittin.

Black explained to the students the reasons he invited Equality Ride to the campus and helped to alleviate anxiety students had about the day with his encouraging words.

“What would Jesus do?” Black asked. “I think if you read enough of the red stuff, you’d know what he would do.”

The night progressed as Modica presented a PowerPoint with various theological views of sexuality, and explained to the audience Eastern’s mission statement.

Peterson then spoke to the group about some of her own personal experiences and then exhorted the audience to remember the importance of Christian hospitality.

Bettie Ann Brigham finished off the evening by describing her interactions with some of the Equality Riders and showing the SoulForce Web site to the audience.

Post-Ride forum: April 26

Eastern students, alumni and administration once again convened in the auditorium to discuss the events of the April 24 SoulForce visit two days later.

A crowd of about 50 students and alumni gathered to hear the reactions of each other and the nine members of the administration that represented the forum’s panel.

“It was a good day for Eastern,” President Black said proudly to the group. “I believe the Lord was pleased with our community.”

The forum, which lasted an hour and a half, consisted of the group interacting with questions and statements about the day, and how they felt the visit went.

“I was proud to be Eastern University’s chaplain on Monday,” Modica said.

Overall the consensus of the evening was that the audience, students and administration alike, was pleased with how the visit went and that they were proud of how Eastern responded.

The forum also opened the door for further discussions about these topics and for the possibility of more organized conversations in the future.

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