FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A University of Arkansas roundtable discussion about the future of late Sen. J. William Fulbright’s presence on campus gave students and alumni a chance to hear from the interim chancellor and provost. Leaders said they’re listening to students but cannot move forward with any changes until the UA President gives the go ahead.
Bill Kincaid, the interim chancellor, and Dr. Charles Robinson, the UA Provost, answered questions for nearly an hour about Fulbright, vaccines and other pertinent topics. Fulbright was the main discussion, and the men said recommendations made by former Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz haven’t been implemented and will need approval by Dr. Donald Bobbitt, the UA System President.
“It is my hope that we will have a better understanding of who we honor, why we honor them and what honoring them says about us today,” Robinson said.
Alex Alvarez is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the Associated Student Government on campus. She played a part in organizing the speakers and the event itself. She said she was pleased with how it turned out.
“We were able to give students access to those administrators,” Alvarez said. “It was a step in bridging the gap between students and people who make the decisions.”
In May, Steinmetz recommended moving a prominent statue of Fulbright from its spot at Old Main to another place on campus. He also recommended keeping the late U.S. Senator’s name on the College of Arts & Sciences.
“Some of the answers were a little vague, but ultimately it was great,” said Tyrah Jackson, a spokesperson for the Black Student Caucus (BSC) on campus.
Last year, the BSC initially recommended changes to Fulbright’s presence on campus. This included removing the statue entirely. Jackson served as an interviewer during Tuesday’s roundtable.
“Me, personally, as a spokeswoman, we’re happy,” Jackson said. “There’re a lot of things going on that we haven’t spoken about, but it’s all moving in the right direction.”