Not In Our Town explores future plans

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The University chapter of Not In Our Town discussed the NIOT national gathering and collaboration with other city organizations during its meeting last Thursday.

NIOT hosted a national gathering in Billings, Mont., which members of the campus and city attended.

Forty-six cities around the country attended the gathering, Vicky Kulike, equity officer and co-chair of NIOT, said.

Campus Police Chief Monica Moll attended and said she initially didn’t want to go because she was busy, but doesn’t regret attending.

“Once I got there, I was happy I went,” she said.

One of the things Moll learned during the meeting was the importance of being “proactive.” This means focusing efforts on preventing incidents like the racially charged tweets in 2013 from happening in the first place, rather than having to respond to such incidents if they do happen.

City Planning Director Heather Saylor said while learning about the stories of different cities, events like the Oak Creek shooting in 2012 could happen in any city.

Moll mentioned one of the arguments against NIOT in cities is that it can put a negative mark on a city: a sign that racism is a problem. However, she said many towns at the gathering never had problems with racism, but embraced NIOT to show they were against hatred.

“It’s not a political movement,” Moll said. “Everyone should be able to embrace [NIOT].”

At the end of the event, Kulike said students from the University were chosen to finish it. She said she was proud of the city and its students for being chosen.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our students for coming along,” she said.

Dana Nemeth, director of the Wood County Historical Center, attended the meeting to discuss collaboration with NIOT.

She mentioned that the city has a history of KKK activity and could possibly host an exhibition about them.

During the meeting it was decided that NIOT would endorse the campus Women’s Center in its Professional Development Series, which will discuss problems for women and members of the LGBT community.

The issue of “sexist signs” on Wooster Street during move-in weekend was also discussed. Kulike said NIOT is working with the mayor and University president to encourage people to take down the signs.

She mentioned one course of action could be to send letters to residents about being “good neighbors” and not putting the signs up.

“It’s still very forefront and center,” Kulike said. “[It’s] something that’s very much on the radar.”