Students at an Ypsilanti, Michigan college are panicked after experiencing back-to-back incidents of racism. Staff discovered racial slurs written on a building at Eastern Michigan University on Sept. 20. Then, personnel found another epithet written inside a stairwell Sept. 21.
The Eastern Echo reported on the first case Tuesday. Someone wrote “KKK” and “Leave N——” in graffiti outside an administrative building that morning. University administrators called officials to investigate the manner by 9:40 a.m.
“Our Department of Public Safety is undertaking a full and immediate investigation,” a statement from EMU’s President James Smith read. “And the graffiti has been quickly removed. We are hopeful that security cameras in the nearby area will help provide evidence pointing to who may have perpetrated this action.”
Students shared their reaction to the news of the graffiti on Twitter.
The Eastern Echo reported 300 Black and minority pupils held a march across campus that day in response.
— Cee-Cee (@Candor_c) September 20, 2016
“We need answers! The people in power know how we feel, so at this point, it doesn’t matter who did it,” student Armani Davis told the school newspaper of the situation. “What matters is the fact that this happened on our campus, and that covering it up was the only solution they could think of at the time. It isn’t enough.”
Part of the school’s investigation involved scouring other areas of campus to ensure no other racist messages were written. But during the search, staff discovered another racial slur written on the wall of a residence hall. The epithet “n——” was written on a single brick inside a stairwell, according to MLive.
An updated statement from Smith noted authorities removed the slur from the wall and included an “action plan to address issues of race and diversity at EMU.”
The university plans to increase police presence, introduce an anonymous online feedback form and host a forum on race and diversity “as soon as possible, but no later than early October.”
Additionally, an email sent to students Thursday morning revealed the probe is ongoing and tips have come in since it announced a $2,500 reward. They are being “fully investigated.”
Many students shared their thoughts on the racist incidents on social media.
Darius Simpson balked at the offer of an optional course on racism, deeming it mandatory.
— Darius Simpson (@Wordplay4Days) September 21, 2016
Ashagramm expressed the fear of Black students “hiding in their dorms.”
meanwhile all the white kids on campus playing volleyball & skateboarding while the black students fearfully hide in their dorms #teamemu
— ashagramm (@ashaaa_) September 22, 2016
@DopeLifeOfTot proclaimed she would be “even more unapologetically Black.”
— coconutoiltatí (@DopeLifeOfTot) September 21, 2016
Meanwhile, @timefiger injected humor into the conversation by urging Black students to enjoy their day as other students eat “unseasoned chicken,” alluding to white classmates.
Harassment may be verbal, but physical will never prosper. Y'all enjoy y'all day while they eating that unseasoned chicken #TeamEMU
— 19 Tims ? (@timfiger) September 22, 2016