ATLANTA (AP) — An author’s second appearance at a Georgia university was canceled after a few students burned copies of her book following an angry exchange during her first talk, which focused on diversity.
Jennine Capo Crucet spoke Wednesday at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Freshmen were assigned to read her novel “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” which deals in part with a young Cuban-American woman’s struggle to adapt when she enrolls at an elite northeastern college.
In a statement Friday, Crucet said she was asked to give a talk on diversity and the college experience, saying she read from an essay on that subject in her recently published collection “My Time Among the Whites.” The daughter of Cuban refugees, Crucet grew up in south Florida and went on to attend Cornell University.
While taking questions, Crucet wrote that “a white student questioned whether I had the authority to address issues of race and white privilege on campus.” About 60% of Georgia Southern’s 26,000 students described themselves as white.
The university’s student newspaper, The George-Anne, reported that an unnamed student told Crucet while she was taking questions before the freshman audience that “I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged. What makes you believe that it’s OK to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”
A video posted online shows some students later Wednesday burning copies of Crucet’s book in a dormitory barbecue grill. A since-deleted Twitter account also showed a picture of the novel with its pages torn out.
Crucet said university employees moved her Wednesday from her Statesboro hotel to a hotel in another town.
The author had been scheduled to give a similar talk Thursday on Georgia Southern’s Savannah campus.
Georgia Southern spokeswoman Jennifer Wise said Crucet canceled the second appearance, but Crucet wrote on Twitter on Thursday that the event was canceled because “the administration said they could not guarantee my safety or the safety of its students on campus because of open carry laws.”