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Schools, Universities Can Confront Racism By Talking About It

Schools and universities play an important role in helping students process and learn after racial trauma.
Schools and universities play an important role in helping students process and learn after racial trauma.

In 2016, a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police about a mile away from the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The shooting sparked demonstrations in the student body, but the administration was slow to respond. 


Host Frank Stasio talks with Tracey Benson, an associate professor of educational leadership at UNC-Charlotte, about the role schools and universities play in addressing racism.

In the aftermath of the shooting and protests, Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC-Charlotte, conducted a study analyzing the university’s response and recommending ways that the institution could have guided professors in starting conversations about race and meeting the needs of students after the traumatic event. In the wake of George Floyd's shooting, Benson contributed toa piece for Education Week on how school educators should respond.

Benson talks with host Frank Stasio about the role of higher education in establishing racial literacy among its students. They also discuss the relationship between the police force and K-12 education system in North Carolina. 

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.