OREM, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – A local university is taking on some of the hot topics of the day, and one of the state’s top officials helped get the conversation started.
Current events are weighing heavy on the minds of students at Utah Valley University.
“It’s kind of heart breaking to me. It’s sad, because I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress,” said Ashlin Taylor.
From the violence in Charlottesville, to protests over police shootings and even the firestorm between President Trump and NFL players and owners, some students wonder if that progress has stopped.
“I think we’re just floating along right now,” said Avery Glass.
Our state’s second in command, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox shares those concerns. He kicked off Ethics Awareness Week on campus.
The school asked him to address white supremacy, and how public officials should respond when facing extremism.
He didn’t give that topic much attention, and he says that’s by design.
“There’s just no place for that in our dialogue, in our country. I had hoped that we are past that, and we should never be giving voices to those most extreme,” said Cox, (R) Utah.
Cox admits our country is divided, but he says it stems from a lack of understanding.
He says the NFL controversy is a perfect example.
“If you kneel, you’re not a patriot, and if you don’t kneel, you don’t care about anyone else or social justice at all. And, I think that’s a false dichotomy, I think that’s a false premise,” Cox said.
His hope is people will come together, and that message is resonating with the next generation.
“I think the most important thing we can do as a country is, is put everybody’s pride aside, whether you are liberal, whether you are conservative is just to come together. Be mutual, and the quicker we come together, I think the quicker we can figure out our problems,” said UVU student Noah Miller.
Discussions are planned through the end of the week on campus. Topics include: business, religion and the refugee crisis.