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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

City supports stopping hate within community

The Not In Our Town campaign has been recruiting as many organizations in the city as possible to join its cause.

When the first racially charged tweeting incident occurred in April and the campaign was created, city officials joined in the dialogue.

“We’re there as supporters,” said Municipal Administrator John Fawcett, who was initially involved with the campaign with Mayor Richard Edwards. The willingness to embrace diversity “identifies the kind of community we want to be — open and inviting. The community has a common goal of creating a nurturing environment for those who live there.”

Some of the main city supporters of the campaign are the Human Relations Commission, city police and city administration.

The campaign has since spread throughout the community from NIOT banners hanging at city events to decals on Bowling Green Police Division cars. The city also has four representatives on NIOT committees.

“They’re working on a sense of a purposeful direction and they’re still making efforts,” Fawcett said.

Barbara Keller, a member of the Human Relations Commission and NIOT committee member, said a main goal she has is getting more organizations to adopt the NIOT pledge.

The goal is still in the early stages of planning, Keller said.

Racism in the community “is not just a University thing,” she said. “The community needs to be involved because this is where the University is housed.”

Curbing hate speech not only benefits the community, but also can help lower certain crimes.

“We support their efforts to stamp out racism and hateful conduct,” said Maj. Tony Hetrick, deputy chief of city police. “Hate crime is a law in the books that we utilize in prosecutions.”

In regards to the most recent tweeting incident about the Black Student Union, Hetrick said not much can be done.

“They are deemed to be protected [under the first amendment] even though they were in poor taste,” he said. “Proactively, we can’t do anything about it unless its threatening.”

Aside from showing their support on their cars, the police also have a banner on their website home page that links to the NIOT website, Hetrick said.

University members of the NIOT campaign are taking notice of the city’s involvement.

The support from the city has been “phenomenal” from the city police, administration and committee members, said graduate student Arpan Yagnik, who is involved with the campaign.

Yagnik had discussed the future of the campaign with city organizations such as the police.

“I’m just overwhelmed and happy that we have so many conscious people around that want to make the community a better place regardless of their affiliations,” said. “I hope to keep the collaboration going.”

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