GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Southwestern University confirmed a racial slur was written on a residence hall whiteboard on two different occasions this week. The act and university’s response also sparked a student-led protest demanding change to prevent future harassment.
A representative from the university said the first slur was found written on a whiteboard attached to a student’s door.
The university said it held a conversation with students on that floor soon after to condemn the action but, days later, on Sunday night, another slur was written on the whiteboard.
Since the incident, the university said surveillance cameras were installed in the affected dorm, and a bias violation tip line has been created for students to report harassment anonymously: 1-866-943-5787.
It plans to put up more cameras in and around first-year residence halls, survey students about support and safety on campus, and reiterate sanctions against violations of the school’s bias policies.
Among other measures, the university aims to expand resources for its Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Center in the wake of this latest incident.
The university said it plans to hire a Chief Diversity Officer, hold more faculty and staff discussion on race and ethnicity, and stage student support panels.
Students push for change
On Wednesday, students gathered outside the school’s campus center for a protest – not only condemning racism – but pushing leaders to further anti-racism efforts.
Gianni Taisague is a junior at the university and attended the protest.
He said he was encouraged to see so many people in attendance but was disappointed that this latest instance happened twice in just a few days.
“It’s happened multiple times already and it’s kind of aggravating that they haven’t figured out a way to combat it fully,” Taisague said.
Students Sophie Vogel and Adele Butler said they have seen racist incidents happen every semester at the school.
Both said they are hopeful that long-term change will be possible after this most recent student response.
“There were Nazi propaganda posters spread around campus last semester. This semester, this is the second time that people have written racist things on one of the whiteboards in the halls,” Butler said.
“It seems like they just fix it by implementing cameras,” Vogel said.