Northwestern Holds Race Forum

Halloween costumes prompt gathering of students and faculty to talk about race.

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Two Northwestern University students who painted their faces black as part of their Halloween costumes have caused an uproar on campus. The incident prompted an E-mail from Northwestern President Morton Shapiro, who suggested a campuswide conversation about race.

Northwestern held a forum on race Thursday night, which attracted more than 600 students, faculty, and administrators, the Daily Northwestern reports. Several students groups sponsored the meeting, which was called to "inspire ideas for possible solutions to inspire a frank conversation of race at Northwestern."

"This conversation is about how the actions of student who dress in blackface and how the actions of students—period—is reflective upon the culture at Northwestern and how we the students are affected by that," Northwestern student Marrion Johnson tells the Daily Northwestern.

Interim Dean of Students Burgie Howard told the crowd that the students who donned the blackface never meant to anger classmates or the community. "One of the unintended consequences is a room full of people willing to listen and talk and share and discuss," he said.

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