A Special Message on Our Theme and Location

The Gulf South Summit theme, “Fostering More Just and Inclusive Communities Together” is a proactive response to the national debate on the North Carolina State Legislature’s passage of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2) and other legislative and institutional challenges to inclusiveness nationwide.

Though the legislation passed well after host location and financial commitments had been made for the 2017 conference, the Gulf South Summit leadership team acknowledges the concerns surrounding this year’s conference site. However, we are committed to presenting this conference as a scholarly forum around this national dialogue addressing issues of equity and inclusion, issues that extend far beyond North Carolina. Annually, the Gulf South Summit attracts hundreds of participants from across North America.  Thus we believe the 2017 Gulf South Summit will provide a powerful venue for shared scholarship and thoughtful conversation that will give diverse voices an opportunity to be heard on this important topic.

Gulf South Summit keynote speaker Randy Stoecker is keenly aware of the complexity of higher education taking a stand on issues of equity and inclusion and will directly address higher education’s role in both the keynote and the pre-conference workshop.

As UNCG faculty member Sheryl Oring writes,

“Listening is the most powerful of all acts… When we make ourselves present and truly listen, we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and create the type of empathy that can open minds, build understanding and alliances, and spur real social change.” (Assistant Professor, Art Department).


Let’s spur real social change together.