University of Vermont

Charlayne Hunter-Gault to Kick off Blackboard Jungle 7 on March 24

Hear Charlayne Hunter-Gault Monday, March 24 at 4 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN’s former Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent and former national correspondent for PBS’ "The NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer, will kick off the Blackboard Jungle 7 Symposium with a keynote lecture on Monday, March 24 at 4 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel as part of UVM’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

The free lecture, organized by the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, precedes a full slate of symposium workshops and panels focused on “Expanding Diversity: Speaking Up, Reaching Out, and Stepping Beyond” on Friday, March 28 at the Dudley H. Davis Center.

Hunter-Gault, author of In My Place, a memoir of her role in the civil rights movement as the first black woman admitted to the University of Georgia, continues to write and speak around the country and is currently working on a new book based on an article she wrote in 2012 for the New Yorker titled "Violated Hopes.”

“My goal as a journalist wasn’t to go on crusades or to take sides, which is becoming much more common today with the emergence of social media, but to write about people who needed exposure and who were being portrayed in a way that was inaccurate and unrecognizable to themselves,” said Hunter-Gault, who will be available at a book signing from 5:30-6 p.m. following her lecture. “I've always wanted to shed light on difficult issues facing people like women in Darfur, who are under siege and still struggling against domestic violence.”

Hunter-Gault said she stresses to students the importance of being informed about current world issues by using a variety of news sources that don’t necessarily conform to their viewpoint. “I try to tell students to really research issues they care about before deciding how to get involved. How you evolve really depends on your interests. Some students are interested in going to Africa for six to eight weeks on an exchange with an NGO or other organizations, but I always caution that it’s important to research the issues and places you are going because they may not be what you think.”

"Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an exceptional speaker for this year's Celebration of Women's History and the keynote kickoff for Blackboard Jungle Symposium 7," said Wanda Heading Grant, event organizer and vice president for Human Resources. "Her personal and professional experiences and journey have made her a pioneer and champion for civil rights and social justice. She is an excellent choice to help UVM celebrate the contributions of women and to create a discourse regarding the various dimensions and excellence of diversity."

Blackboard Symposium 7 workshops and sessions are designed to support UVM faculty, staff and community members seeking to learn how to work well with others, effectively manage cross-cultural contact across campus, and to navigate the expanding dimensions of diversity in order to promote inclusiveness in our institutions. There is a registration and fee of $20 for UVM employees and $30 for non-UVM employees.

Panelists include Dorothy Roberts, professor of civil rights at the University of Pennsylvania; Amer F. Ahmed, associate director of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs at the University of Michigan; Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School; Lily Casura, journalist and creator and founder of; and Matt Glowacki, owner of MOGO Wheelchairs.

Workshop topics and panels include:

  • Fatal Invention: Re-creating Race in the Genomic Age
  • Acts of Discrimination: What Would You Do?
  • Reaching Out: Faculty and Staff Working Together to Support International Students in Higher Education
  • Talking Race: Does Classroom Work About Race, Diversity, and Social Justice Unify or Divide?
  • Addressing Islamophobia: Dispelling Myths to Break Down Barriers
  • Successful Transitions from Combat to the Classroom
  • Walking is Over-Rated!
  • Law, Stories, and the Historical Construction of Race
  • Ways of Talking, Ways of Being: Language and Identity in the Classroom and Beyond

To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact UVM Conference & Event Services: (802) 656-5665.