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Friday, 22 March 2013

White power graffiti seen on campus

White supremacist messages reading “#WhiteGenocide” were found on campus Wednesday morning.

Three separate complaints were filed from three different locations, Associate Dean of Students Carol McCord said.

One of those locations was the Jordan Hall bus stop. Another was seen by the Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center, covering up another advertisement.

As of Wednesday evening, a perpetrator has not been determined.

“I’m not pleased about these incidents at all,” McCord said. “But I’m pleased to see that people are stepping up, that people on campus have the courage to act and report these things.”

McCord and the campus incident response teams convened to discuss how to respond to the reports Wednesday afternoon.

First, they plan to contact the individuals who reported the incidents and thank them personally for speaking up. Then, they will publish a campus-wide response.

They were still discussing how they would precisely respond as of Wednesday evening.

“We are quite proud of our campus diversity,” McCord said. “And while there is freedom of speech on this campus, there is also no place for hateful, hurtful speech, and we would prefer people find ways to have thoughtful, heartfelt and respectful civil discussion abut differences in opinion.”

McCord said the campus has faced issues with KKK flyers in the community and graffiti in residents halls in the past, but nothing on that scale concerning white supremacy has happened in recent months.

The most recent wide-spread discrimination incident was the chalk graffiti about AIDS that targeted Phi Gamma Delta last month.

One of the complaints about the white supremacy graffiti noted that when white supremacist messages appeared at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, at the beginning of the month, the college cancelled classes for the day and held events designed to educate people on racism and show support for their minority students.

McCord said it would not be realistic or helpful for IU to make a similar move.

“A one-off event on this campus will not be helpful,” she said. “Most people would not go to an educational forum and would not have an educational opportunity out of cancelling class.”

The campus incident teams are part of an ongoing process to bring the community together to respond to events as they happen, she said.

They seek to support individuals who have experienced bias so that members of the community know there is a resource for overcoming these events.

She said the fact that people are reporting the event is a good sign.

“I will tell you I do believe that there is still people who perpetrate these kinds of discrimination,” McCord said. “I have to say though that I don’t think it is a large number of people. We know more people are responding unfavorably to this than probably were involved with perpetrating it.”

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