April 15, 2005

I.C. Students Protest Race Crimes

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Racial slurs were written in various places all around Ithaca College Sunday and Monday. These incidents were preceded by bias-related incidents against Asians, African-Americans and women in February and March.

In response, I.C. students outraged at the events held an “Erase the Hate” Rally for yesterday afternoon and looked for other solutions to deal with intolerance on I.C.’s campus.

Over 500 people showed up for the rally yesterday, according to Ebony Blue, an Erase the Hate Task Force representative. The group was pleased with the people who appeared at the rally, including members of the I.C. administration and Ithaca city officials.

“We are standing up as a campus to show we won’t tolerate this stuff,” Blue said. “I just hope … the perpetrator did hear how many supporters we have.”

“I am fed up, and you all should be as well,” said Darren Simonson, a freshman at I.C. and a representative of the Erase the Hate Task Force during a meeting of the African-Latino Society and Prism, I.C.’s LGBT student organization Sunday night, according to an April 14 article in The Ithacan.

Reports of the incidents were given by Bob Holt, the director of public safety. The first reported incident came Sunday morning at 7:13 a.m. A custodian found “Fucking Niggers!!!” written in green dry-erase markers on glass entrance doors. Sunday afternoon, the manager of a local eatery found the same words written in black magic marker on the glass doors of the store. A student found “Nigges Sux!” written on the glass covering the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ bulletin board. A white female student found “You’re a fucking nigger” traced in the dust on her driver’s side window; her car was parked in a campus parking lot behind the building where the first incident occurred. Monday morning a dining staff member found “Fuck You Niggers” written on a door of the dining hall.

Additionally, the LGBT Pride flag was stolen and spit was found on another OMA bulletin board that promoted a month-long celebration of LGBT awareness and education. The LGBT Pride flag has been stolen multiple times in the past few years.

The ALS, the Erase the Hate Task Force, Prism and the Caribbean Students Association have been handing out flyers and see the rally as a way to raise awareness about the graffiti. These groups are also notifying parents about the incidents and encouraging them to contact the I.C. administration to show concern about the events. They have requested that the administration begin diversity awareness workshops during freshman orientation in the fall.

I.C. President Peggy Williams used an annual year-end speech to the Student Government Association to discuss the events. She also asked these students for suggestions about actions the administration should take.

“At this point, I’m ready to throw whoever these people are off of the highest roof I can find on the I.C. campus,” said Williams in an April 14 edition of The Ithacan.

The Ithacan also reported yesterday the results of a Campus Climate survey, which showed that 31 percent of responding students at I.C. feel they have been discriminated against on campus. Additionally, 44 percent of students felt racial and ethnic conflict and tension existed on campus. Whether they had been personally discriminated against or not, 15 percent of respondents said they considered leaving I.C. because of multicultural issues on campus. About 3,000 of I.C.’s 6,000 students participated in the survey.