Beyond the Bricks: Week of 10/07
by Tyler English | published Oct. 18th, 2019
College Students Burning Books
Following a lecture given by author Jennine Capó Crucet, students at Georgia Southern University (GSU) burned her books on grills. CNN reports that during the lecture she argued with students about white privilege and diversity.
The novel tells the story of a Cuban-American girl living between two worlds — that of a first generation college minority student and her family in Miami.
Capó Crucet is quoted as saying, “I was asked in advance to give a talk on issues concerning diversity and the college experiences, one that expanded on the themes of my novel.”
During a question and answer portion of her lecture, a student questioned her authority of the subject of race and white privilege on campuses. In response, Capó Crucet said that she came to speak because she was invited to, so she did.
A freshman at GSU told CNN that students began shouting and yelling both in favor and against the student's comment. Capó Crucet described the situation as "hostile and surreal." Later that night, she changed her hotel as outside of her original hotel she could see students burning her books.
Jennifer Wise, GSU spokeswoman, says that the university will not press charges or pursue the students as they are acting with their First Amendment rights.
Conversely, Wise is quoted as saying, "Book burning does not align with Georgia Southern's values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas."
Arming Florida Teachers
Florida passed a new law that took effect on Oct. 1, 2019. The law allows some school teachers to carry firearms in the classroom. The Florida Department of Education said these “guardians” are armed personnel tasked with upholding the safety of the students if an active assailant were to enter the school.
The law gives school districts the option to arm teachers and security guards, reported the New York Times. The Times continued that in order for a teacher or guard to be considered a guardian they must pass a psychological evaluation, drug screening and at least 144 hours of training.
CBS reported that the law is in response to the Parkland School shooting where 17 students and staff were killed.
Critics have claimed that the state lacks oversight of the program and cannot properly conduct the trainings — the reasons for these claims are unknown. Florida’s largest school districts, Miami and Orlando, have opted out of the program and are choosing to rely on law enforcement.
Hong Kong Protests
Protesters in Hong Kong have continued to fight for democracy since June 2019, according to BBC. The protests are the result of a new bill passed in April; this bills allows Chinese law enforcement to move criminal suspects to mainland China. This gives China larger influence over Hong Kong, and opponents of the bill claim that this will lead to unfair trails and violent treatment of suspects.
Since Hong Kong has its own legal and judiciary system that is separate from China’s, the implementation of the bill infringes on what laws are currently in place in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was formerly a British colony, but it was handed back to China in 1997. It operates under a “one country, two systems” agreement that allows it to be its own entity.
Demands have changed over the course of the protest. Universal suffrage for Hong Kong’s parliament and legislative council have been a focus of the protests. Now, the protesters are also demanding amnesty for all arrested protesters.
CNBC reported that thousands of protesters have sung the Star Spangled Banner and have been calling to President Donald Trump to help liberate them. Protesters have been using symbols of the U.S., such as the flag and anthem to spread their fight for democracy and help build their platform.