Students, school leaders respond to book burning at Georgia Southern University

Local News

STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — It’s a story that’s made national headlines. Some students at Georgia Southern University burned books they’re required to read.

Some call it a bold stance; others say it’s just disturbing.

Author Jennine Capó Crucet says she was asked by the University to talk to students about issues concerning diversity and the college experience. Her book, “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” according to Crucet, is a “collection of essays about feeling like an accidental American in a society centered on whiteness.”

After the lecture about diversity and race, one student questioned if Crucet had the authority to address issues of race on campus.

Jennine Capó Crucet

That’s when the lecture took a dramatic turn. Several students walked out, and later, some of them burned copies of her book outside of their on-campus apartment.

Many students say the incident wasn’t a shock to them.

“I’m not surprised that they burned somebody’s book that’s opposite of their opinions,” one Georgia Southern student said.

“Even if you disagree, to go and burn her book is quite disrespectful. It’s basically saying that minorities shouldn’t speak out or have an opinion about what goes on in our world,” another student told News 3. “[With] the racial climate that we have today, I’m not surprised, because people are very adamant about pushing their rhetoric.”

Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero responded with a letter, writing, in part, “Specific to the reported events of that evening, while it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas.”

Crucet released an official statement to News 3 recounting the evening from her perspective. She said, in part:

“This book began as an act of love and an attempt at deeper understanding. I hope GSU can act from the same place and work to affirm the humanity of those students who might understandably feel unsafe in the aftermath of the event and the book burning, and that the campus continues the difficult and necessary conversation that began in that auditorium.”

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