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UNR Students Voice Their Concerns About Free Speech Issues On Campus

Panelists sit on stage as audience members ask questions
Lesly Virgen-Mariscal
Students and faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno serve as panelists at the Town Hall discussion on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Students at the University of Nevada, Reno are concerned that discussions aimed at addressing free speech, tolerance, and social justice issues on campus are not effective. 

Administrators and students met for a town hall this week to discuss challenges the university community has faced due to several recent expressions of hate on campus. 

Outgoing President Marc Johnson was among the panelists and said universities are a marketplace of ideas.

‘In our educational environment here, we have to learn how to use the tool of speech to build each other up, and respect and understand. So our purpose here is to learn from different ideas,” President Johnson said.

But students, including Duncan Boren, said that these types of events and discussions are not addressing solutions.

“It would have made me feel better if I'd heard a more direct response from the administration on what they can do — if not to stop this — than to really reassure students that they want to stop this,” Boren said.

Racial tensions grew last year when several swastikas and flyers promoting white supremacist groups were found on campus. 

As a note of disclosure, the license to this station is owned by the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Lesly Virgen-Mariscal is a bilingual student reporter with Noticiero Móvil at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Lesly Virgen-Mariscal is a first-generation college student at the University of Nevada, Reno pursuing a dual degree in journalism and Spanish with a minor in communications. Lesly strives to bring awareness and exposure to the diverse voices in the region. Lesly enjoys reporting about her community, specifically the Latinx community. As a bilingual reporter for KUNR and Noticiero Móvil, she hopes to tell the stories that are not heard. Lesly is an alumna of Reno Youth Radio Internship Program.
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