In light of the recent events sweeping the nation and world surrounding the killing of George Floyd, Eastern Washington University’s Africana Studies program will host an important virtual open forum this Friday.

The “Eagle Student Voices” forum is designed to give students a platform, according to Professor Scott Finnie, PhD, director of the Africana Studies program at EWU. “We wanted to give the students a chance to express, a chance to vent, a chance to convey exactly what are they going through as Eastern students in the midst of what I call a threefold pandemic,” he says.


That threefold pandemic, Finnie says, is COVID-19, the economic recession and the civil unrest we’ve seen in cities from coast to coast. He strongly believes giving students a platform during these unprecedented times is critical.

“By doing the expressing, the venting and the conveying, it allows them to articulate, to define and to more deeply critically think about what their role is as a student in light of being a change agent, and in advancing the decency of humanity in our society,” Finnie says.

He calls this a “pivot point” in American history, one he wasn’t sure he’d ever see. He credits social media with helping to mobilize so many young people form so many backgrounds who share a common bond for social justice. And he sees this moment in time as a chance for Eastern students to launch their careers into a definitive direction and make a difference for the rest of their lives.

Eastern Washington University students, faculty and staff are invited to the virtual open forum (EWU SSO required to join). Topics will include:

  • George Floyd’s murder and its historical background
  • Local and national protests
  • EWU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • University reorganization
  • Impact of COVID-19 on student and family life

The forum will be moderated by Finnie. He also plans to incorporate these issues into his future curriculum and classroom discussions.

An Open Forum: Eagle Student Voices

  • Date: Friday, June 12
  • Time: 10-11:30 a.m.

Finnie was recently interviewed by Politico, an American political magazine and website, speaking on the magnitude of recent shifts in public opinion on race relations and police misconduct. To read more, here is a link to the article, ‘A seismic quake’: Floyd killing transforms views on race.