Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

SMC Professor Hosts Third Race in the Race Event

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.


SMC professor Karen Turner hosted her third Race in the Race panel in light of the upcoming election. The idea to start this event was born out of Barack Obama’s first campaign to become president in 2008. “Race became an issue sometimes it was blatant, sometimes it wasn’t, so that’s where the title of the event came from,” she said.

The event included a panel of student leaders on campus including representatives from AdEL, Temple College Democrats, Model UN, Political Science Society, BABEL, The Student Government, NCNW, TUBPRS, and BRDIGE. Additional representatives from student organizations on campus were seated in the front row for added participation. On Tuesday, October 4 in Annenberg Hall’s studio one doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and the event took place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Despite having two candidates who are not of color in this presidential cycle, Professor Turner says race is still an issue to be talked about. “I think the issue of race will always be with us as a country until we deal with it,” she said. “We have not figured out a way to collectively deal with it effectively.” Professor Turner wanted to create a space in which people can voice their opinions without judgment.

Panelists not only be discussed the most important issues in the current presidential election, but also discussed the way candidates and news media have handled the issue of race.

Professor Turner says talking about race publically is important for the students and public at large. “I think we tend to talk about these issues in our own little siloes, and that’s why I think it’s important to bring as broad of a student body together,” she said. “I mean we call ourselves the diversity university, so let’s take advantage of our diversity, not only racially and ethically, but opinion.”

She wants to create a space for students to discuss these issues openly. “We’re hoping that we create in that hour a safe enough space that people who don’t necessarily agree with the masses, because judging on my students, at least most of them publically have said that they are supporting Hillary,” she said. “But of course we have people supporting trump or third part candidates and I would hope that they feel comfortable enough to come to.”

The event is trying to be as inclusive as possible and has invited representatives from both candidates nearest campaign offices to be present. “We’re trying to be inclusive, and certainly be mindful that not everyone has the same opinion and that’s fine,” she said. “But I think until people come together and talk and have these conversations then maybe race in the race in 50 years or something wont have to happen.”

Professor Turner chose to include mostly students in the panel in order to hear the voices of young voters on campus. In previous years, she also had professors from the history and political science departments participate in the event. But feedback from students showed they wanted to hear from other students and so they shifted the focus of the event. “The focus of the program is really to hear from the students,” she said.

She also spoke of the importance of students discussing the election, “everything when you hear about millennial voters, that’s the students, they are the millennial voters,” she said. “I think it makes sense in keeping to hear from millennials, what’s on their mind, what are some of the issues the candidates should be talking about and they’re not.”

Professor Turner is no stranger to involving and educating students in and about politics. Race in the Race is actually the second installment of a three part series leading up to the election, which is sponsored by the Academic Center on Research in Diversity and the Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color. The first allowed for the community to reflect on the Democratic and Republican conventions and was held on the first day of classes this fall. The third will feature a lecture from a Temple professor and will be held at the Paley library.

Not only that, but she also coordinated a class this summer with a few other SMC professors that allowed students to report on the DNC for various publications across the country for a stipend.

She is pleased with the outcome of her past involvements with students in politics. “Students got to know one another, outside of their organizations, saw there were commonalities and at least expressed an interest in ‘why don’t we get together,’” she said. In 2012, she noticed students brought these discussions beyond the panel. “Continuing these conversations and not just having them in your siloes,” she said. “I mean that’s what I have seen come out a little bit of this.”




Temple University Student | Journalism Major
Logan is a junior journalism major, and serves as Campus Correspondent.  She is also the proud president of Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Nu, her sorority. Logan is typically super busy, but still dedicates hours to reading a Cosmo from front to back...twice. Logan loves all things social media, especially following puppy accounts on Instagram. Her dream is to break into the magazine industry and help empower other women to pursue their dreams, whatever that may be.