An Eastern Michigan University staff member found “KKK” and “Leave Niggers” scrawled in graffiti on the side of an administrative building Tuesday morning, sparking outrage among students.
According to a Facebook post by campus newspaper the Eastern Echo, an EMU employee discovered the wall of Julia Ann King Hall, formerly an all-female dorm, had been vandalized.
By 9:40 a.m., university administrators called authorities to investigate.
University President James Smith released a statement following the incident.
“The University strongly condemns such a racist and thoughtless act, which runs completely counter to the values and welcoming environment of our highly diverse Eastern Michigan University community,” he said, adding that the university’s Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident.
“Rest assured, we will investigate this criminal act to our fullest abilities and will advise our campus community on our progress,” he said.
But some EMU students were not satisfied by Smith’s statement, and demanded that the school do more to prevent racist incidents on campus.
Janeé, a senior, told BuzzFeed News that she did not feel proud saying she attended EMU because of the treatment she and her classmates have experienced on campus. She saw the graffiti, and declined to give her last name for security reasons.
“We’re hurt,” Janeé said. “We pay for our education just like everyone else, so to see something like that in the morning on our way to class it's caused outrage and pain.”
“The black community at Eastern is phenomenal and all we want is to be treated like every other race here at Eastern,” she added.
Another senior, Phil T., told BuzzFeed News that while he had seen and heard of similarly discriminatory acts on campus, the graffiti incident this morning spurred him to action.
“I was never the community activist,” said Phil, who also declined to provide his last name for security reasons. “I was just going to class, always around campus and know a lot of people, so usually I don't get involved in stuff like this.” He plans to participate in a campus protest later on today.
“But seeing the blatant disrespect and open racism it set me off. It makes me feel unsafe and unwelcome on campus,” he added.
Like other students, Phil also critiqued Smith’s mail, calling it a “cover-up,” and saying it didn’t make him feel any better.
“In our day and age with everything going on with innocent black lives being taken, it's only a matter of time before another incident happens that hits close to home,” he said.
Julia Anne King Hall is an administrative building at Eastern Michigan University. The article previously misstated its function.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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