A Black student returned to the Grand Valley State University campus this past Monday only to find something quite threatening on their dormitory room message board. According to authorities, the student found racist epithets with a degrading sketch drawn on there.
Dean of Students, Bart Merkle, said the sketch on the message illustrated a Black person being hanged with X’s for their eyes, and the statement was an anti-Black History comment with racial slurs. Merkle explained to the local affiliate Fox 17, “This is not something that we are used to having in our community,” Merkle said. “That hate really has no place on a campus or any place.”
This is not the first time a student of GVSU has found racial comments on their dorm message board. Another student has unfortunately dealt with this racism numerous times; it was so bad that she had to be forced to remove her message board.
The student plans to leave the university after the winter semester because of all the racism she and her roommate have been exposed to. “I’m just disgusted by coming to my room and seeing the negative messages on the door,” she said to Fox 17. “I feel uncomfortable, what do people have against me here? I’m a freshman, why can’t we just get along.”
The university is currently doing what it can to uncover who was responsible for this racist act. Dean Merkle said that the university’s staff has been talking to students in the dormitories. “We have to first try to identify who’s responsible. If we believe this is intimidation and threatening, which I think a very good case could be made for that, then we might well choose to use our disciplines system in terms of reviewing and making some decisions,” Merkle said. “If we felt that it violated the law, our campus police would take it to the prosecutor and if it was deemed to be a potential violation of the law we would probably prosecute it.”