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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Spirit rock slur sparks controversy

Kreischer Quadrangle’s spirit rock displayed a racist word last week on Oct. 12. Despite the word being covered up by University officials, the word still prompted a conversation across the campus.

The University’s Office of the Dean of Students teamed up with campus police to conduct an investigation on the racial slur, but as of Oct. 19, they have not found the person or people responsible for the graffiti.

“We have received some calls from people that said they’ve seen suspicious activity in the area, but at this point nothing has been confirmed,” Dean of Students Jodi Webb said.

She said finding the person or people responsible for this would be difficult, but not necessarily impossible.

“It’s challenging,” Webb said. “It requires something that could’ve been picked up on video, or someone that’s seen something.”

The spirit rock by the Kreischer Quadrangle is not the most highly trafficked area, she said, but someone still could have seen something.

However, even if the person or people who are responsible for the graffiti end up being discovered, several black students voiced their concerns over what the outcome would be.

“In the four years that I’ve been here, we get emails, but nothing gets done,” Senior Alexus Horn said, referring to the University’s emails sent in response to similar situations. “I honestly feel like the University doesn’t take it seriously.”

Another student next to Horn voiced her anger over the offensive graffiti.

“I don’t know what possessed them to do this,” Junior Jamia Ray said.

Since the spirit rock is about promoting school spirit, there was no good reason for anyone to have the inclination to spray-paint a racially offensive word on the rock, Ray said.

Sophomore Maya Danner said she believed the University only brought attention to the racial slur because the institution simply wanted to placate minority students.

“The University’s attention (to this) is just to appease the non-white community,” Danner said. “Nothing’s done to include us. We have to do it ourselves.”

Amid the anger of these black students, University Police Captain Michael Campbell gave his perspective.

“The University as a whole takes it seriously,” Campbell said. However, he added that it is hard to hold someone accountable in this circumstance.

“This wasn’t a criminal act,” he said. “(The people) that did this violated a student code of conduct.”

The situation gets even more complicated if the people responsible for the racial slur are not University students.

“We can only apply the student code of conduct to a BGSU student,” Webb said.

If a University student was responsible for this and he or she was discovered, then “the student could be put on probation or suspended from the University,” she said.

The punishment would vary depending on the student’s prior violations of the student code of conduct and the circumstances surrounding the incident, Webb said.

If the person or people supposedly responsible for the graffiti are not University students, there would be little the institution could do.

“If it was someone who had an affiliation with another university, we could inform that university,” she said.

Webb also responded to upset students who feel University officials do not do enough to hold people accountable for offensive or racist occurrences.

“We’ve had situations in the past where things have happened and students have been held accountable,” she said. “The challenge is trying to identify (who did it). It depends on how we receive that information. We also have free speech issues too.”

In the end, Webb said she did not want to shut down conversation about it.

“I’m focused on the students, but this affects faculty and staff as well,” she said. “At the end of the day, it was a term that offended some members of our community. This is a conversation we want to continue to have.”

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