Bridging Divisions in Community
Name of convener:
Matthew Finck, Will Kovalchik, Jo Ann Orr
Main points from the conversation:
Group acknowledged division in the Watauga County community between families that have lived
in the county for generations and those who have moved here in the past 10 or 20 years. Group
also acknowledged division between the ASU community and the rest of the people in the county.
At times long-term families feel powerless in the face of newcomers and the university, leading to
fear and resentment. At times the university has made decisions that have exacerbated these
Group acknowledged that there are few venues in which real conversation actually takes place.
Such orchestrated conversations as the one held in this event today should happen more often and
reach out to wider segments of the community. Political discourse, such as meetings of the town
councils, county commission, and board of education, provide other opportunities for discussion,
but are often emotionally charged in such a way that real dialogue does not occur.