The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is bringing a collegiate club to Troy’s campus next fall.
On its webpage, SPLC said the center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.
“Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality,” the website reads.
Kourtney Frye, a junior history major from Monroeville and one of the first students to help bring SPLC to campus, said the group will offer advocacy for LGBTQ+, racial, economic and migrant justice.
“I think it’s important that people advocate for these minority groups because you want to make sure that you are recognizing everyone’s rights, whoever they are and wherever they come from,” Frye said.
Troy has a split identity when it comes to the issues SPLC is concerned about, according to Avery Livingston, the coordinator of civic engagement, and faculty adviser of SPLC on campus.
“There are many staff, faculty and students who support more progressive ways of thinking about these issues,” said Livingston. “However, there are very conservative people on campus that strongly disagree with the way SPLC frames their advocacy.”
Livingston said SPLC lists certain people and groups as “extremists” or “hate groups,” and many conservative people would find these designations wildly incorrect and inflammatory.
“I would not disagree with these conservative views; personally, SPLC is a very inflammatory and outspoken organization,” said Livingston. “However, I feel it very important that students find their own voice while being here at Troy.”
Frye said that SPLC is now trying to reach out to interested students. An information session will be held April 19 in Patterson Hall 314 at 5 p.m. to talk about what SPLC is, what it does and to go over the constitution.
Then, the new student organization package, which includes the constitution, will be submitted to Troy University Student Government Association for a senate voting.
“I think that if we present this to our fellow students, they will be able to help promote change,” Frye said.
Vera Landrum, a senior communication major from Butler, said she has always been interested in the work that the SPLC does.
After Landrum attended the annual M. Stanton Evans journalism symposium on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, where the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the SPLC, Morris Dees, spoke, she thought that SPLC on campus would be a great way to get involved.
“For me, it felt like a way to be a part of a larger movement,” Landrum said. “I’m interested mostly in their work that has to do with civil rights and LGBT rights.”
Landrum said she hopes that SPLC has a lasting impact of educating students about current political events and topics, such as civil rights or economic justice.
Any students who would like to know more about the club can come to the interest meeting or contact Kourtney Frye.