panel at laughing planet for anti-hate
Damien Vinci / Nevada Sagebrush
A panel of student and faculty leaders lead discussion on how to combat hate and bias at the university on Thursday, Oct. 10. This event was a part of the anti-hate campaign at the university.

Correction: In the original article, the story quoted Hanchey as saying “civically unsafe.” It has been corrected to “physically unsafe.”

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Core Humanities department, the College of Liberal Arts and Laughing Plant opened up the second session of Thoughts on Tap on Thursday, Oct. 10. 

Thoughts on Tap is a series meant to engage diverse staff, students and community members on topics that are of a timely manner. 

The theme for the night was anti-racism and resistance titled “Confronting Racism” in response to the current acts of hate that have occurred on campus.  

A panel was comprised of Jenna Hanchey, assistant professor of communication studies, Jose Miguel Pulido Leon, director of The Center. Every Student. Every Story, Gabriela Flores, coordinator of democratic engagement and special events at the Center for Student Engagement, and Ayanna Releford, director of diversity and inclusion for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.  

Panelists discussed strategies on how to combat hate, structures of racism and recent events on campus. 

The discussion centered itself around the TurningPoint USA rally, which took place in the Joe Crowley Student Union on Monday, Oct. 7. During the event, students held a counter protest outside The Joe. 

Flores said since moving to Reno, she has had to question the ways she talks to students who have different ideologies than her. She added there needs to be events on campus such as the TurningPoint USA rally to validate others’ feelings. 

“We have a number of conservative [students] on this campus who feel silenced, who feel scared to share they are conservative because they are scared of being labeled racist. I see students who feel they don’t belong on campus,” Flores said. “The question that’s been luminating in  my head for the past two to three weeks is: When will we see each others humanity? ” 

Flores added the event event will allow her to come up with strategies to make sure all students feel welcome on campus. 

Releford said in her role she has met with various clubs and organizations that represent diverse students, and the reactions she gets is students of diverse backgrounds “don’t feel safe”, but also faculty don’t understand student concerns and needs. 

“The biggest thing we can do is to listen to our students because I sit on many boards and committees of out of like 40 people and I’m the one student,” Releford said. “They have all these ideas of what they think students want to do, but never talk to the students.” 

Releford said faculty need to come to events and learn about the student experience and prioritize safety. 

Hanchey echoed her, saying there needs to be an understanding of everyone’s humanity, but safety has to be a priority. She said she has heard faculty and students express they are afraid for their lives.  

“What this is about is about people who feel physically unsafe on this campus, and that is a problem  we have to deal with,” Hanchey states. “What we are talking about isn’t really about conservatism. We are talking about white nationalism, we’re talking about racism, and we are talking about hatred towards LGBTQ people.” 

Panelist further discussed students should seek their allies and support one another 

Thoughts on Tap has is held every second Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Laughing Planet. 

Future topics include: 

  • The City (Nov. 14)
  • Work and Money (Dec. 12)
  • Sex and the Body (Feb. 13)
  • Storytelling (March 12)
  • Political and Popular Voices (March 26, at the Nevada Museum of Art)
  • The Planet (April 9)
  • Food and Culture (May 14)

Andrew Mendez can be reached at or on Twitter @AMendez2000.