SIU hosts listening sessions following racism investigation

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is investigating racism on campus after a video went viral. 

In the video posted to SIU student Leilani Bartlett’s Facebook page, she talks about the racism she experienced in her residence hall and on campus.

Earlier in the week, protests were held on campus to combat what students call institutional racism.

Thursday night, the school began a series of meetings with students to talk about racism and the issues they face at SIU.

Dozens of students shared experiences they and others have dealt with on campus, many students saying they’ve heard derogatory comments and racial slurs made by their peers and even faculty.

Students like Daniel Drummer say whether you’ve dealt with it directly or not, it’s a big issue at SIU.

"I’m not really worried about racism because I haven’t experienced it directly on campus but it is a big problem and something does need to happen about it. Before something does happen to me,” said Daniel Drummer, a freshman at SIU.

School administrators say the most important thing students can do is report discrimination when it happens so they can do something to help.

"Be it by a student, by a faculty member, by a staff member, whoever it may be that is counter to policy, that is discriminatory, that is problematic in that way, we’re going to address it. We’re going to pursue it, we’re going to investigate it and take the action that needs to be taken,” said David Dilalla, Associate Provost for Academic Administration.

Administrators say Thursday night’s talk with students is the first of many to be held on campus.

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