The Collegian
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Racist graffiti found on student's dorm in Marsh Hall

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Editor's Note: The Collegian does not name victims of crime without their permission. 

A first-year student woke up this morning to see a racist epithet written on their door.  

The student reported the incident, which happened in Marsh Hall, to the University of Richmond Police Department, according to a letter from URPD obtained by The Collegian. 

Pictures of the vandalized door posted on GroupMe garnered solidarity from several students, who then shared the pictures on their own social media profiles.

“I wanted people to see that this is the school that preaches inclusivity, that preaches diversity, that uses our faces on their website trying to sell themselves as a school that is diverse, but this is happening behind the scenes," said Akeem Ogunkoya, first-year and Richmond College Student Government Association senator. "If I had known that things like this were happening before I came to this school, I would have never came here."

University President Ronald A. Crutcher sent a university-wide statement at 3:40 p.m. denouncing the racist graffiti and encouraging anyone with additional information to contact URPD. 

“This cowardly and racist act is profoundly hurtful and deeply offensive," Crutcher wrote. "The fact that this occurred on our campus the very week we commemorate the birth and historical legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes this all the more disgusting."

Crutcher is working closely with the Bias Resource Team to provide support for the student affected by the hate crime, according to his statement.

Marsh Hall residents received the emailed letter from URPD at 4 p.m.

“At this time, we have limited information about this offensive racial slur directed at a specific individual. The offender is unknown,” according to the letter.

The presidents of the Black Student Alliance, the Multicultural Student Solidarity Network, RCSGA and the Westhampton College Government Association made a joint statement to the campus community in an email sent from Mia Reinoso Genoni's account. Genoni is the dean of Westhampton College.

The joint statement not only condemned the incident, but also reminded students to participate in discussions surrounding race and of the resources available for anyone in need of support.

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“[W]e want to emphasize the value of discussions surrounding race and University history. To cultivate an environment of respect, safety, and inclusion, it is necessary to know our past in order to shape our future,” the statement read.

The incident coincided with a previously planned town hall meeting at 5 p.m. led by BSA executives to discuss concerns about multicultural social life on campus, which more than 110 students attended. 

Sophomore Charles Miller III raised concerns about the safety of students of color on campus.

“There needs to be an effort to make sure that we are seen and we are valued equally," Miller said at the meeting. "For a person to even have a conversation about social life on campus, we need to have a conversation about our own safety first."

Contact news writer Jackie Llanos Hernandez at jackie.llanoshernandez@richmond.edu.

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