Crawford plans to listen to campus concerns


New SGA President Baron Crawford looks to improve the sense of campus community.

Baron Crawford, the new president of Western Carolina University’s Student Government Association, sees some of the challenges of his term of office reflecting national trends, socially and politically.

Crawford, a rising senior from Gastonia, is a communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in Spanish. Previously vice president of SGA, Crawford’s election as SGA president comes as the university is grappling with issues related to free speech and diversity that have included anonymous postings on social media platforms and chalked messages on campus sidewalks during the spring semester. Some of the social media postings contained language deemed racist, hurtful, offensive and frightening to many members of the campus community.

In spite of the rhetoric and recent news headlines, Crawford, who is African-American, said he does not feel there is a racial divide on campus. “Sure, students like people anywhere come together in groups, as friends outside the classroom, because of shared backgrounds and similar interests, and can relate to one another. If you’re from a place or have an interest or identity, you gravitate toward others like you. That creates a community, but we’re collectively part of a bigger community – the Catamount community. Part of coming to college is about coming together with people who aren’t like you, opening your eyes to things.”