GREENCASTLE, Ind. — A racial slur found written inside a DePauw University dormitory has some students feeling on edge and expressing concern the school isn’t doing enough to stop a string of hate speech on or near campus.
Red ink spells out a hateful message: a racial slur followed by the words “gone home”. It was found inside a bathroom stall at Hogate Hall on DePauw’s campus.
“It’s very discomforting,” said Freshman Brian Antoine, who heard about the incident.
“I mean I feel unsafe,” added Junior Kaleb Anderson. “I don’t know if the person siting in class with me is the person who wrote this. I don’t know if the person walking by in the cafeteria wrote this. It’s terrifying.”
Anderson is the President of the Association of African-American Students at DePauw. He said he’s fed up with how the school has responded to incidents like this one. He said the school should have immediately sent a strong campus-wide message denouncing the act.
“There’s been a history of messages like that,” Anderson added.
Last year, students reported a number of racially charged incidents; including a racist threat found in a restroom at The Inn at DePauw, a homophobic and an anti-Semitic message found in a bathroom, and an incident of a student “engaging in offensive behavior at the Duck.” A racial slur formed by rocks in a park near campus was also reported.
Back then, students protested and demanded answers for how the administration was handling that string of racially charged incidents. Roughly 30 students marched into the university’s administration building reciting a chant calling for President Mark McCoy’s removal.
Anderson said, the lack of an immediate campus-wide message spoke volumes to the minority community at the school.
“No message… is that your safety is of no concern to us,” he said.
We took those concerns to the top.
DePauw University spokesman Ken Owen said the reason the school did not notify the campus about the racial slur is because the message did not “threaten anyone.”
“I hope they understand the University is really serious about this. We committed a lot of time in the spring and the summer looking into this, working with State Police and other agencies. It’s frustrating,” he added.
He also noted the difficulties in tracking down the perpetrators.
“The difficulty is, really, with no cameras in the bathroom, it becomes a laboratory for things like this to happen,” said Owen. “I understand the frustration. I mean I’m frustrated. Believe me, I would like nothing more than to stand in front of your camera and say we figured out who did this.”