The Boston College campus is still reeling after racist graffiti was found scrawled in a residence hall over the weekend, leaving students on edge.
“All I could do was cry because there were a lot of emotions going on,” BC freshman Grace Assogba told CBS Boston of the incident. “To have to deal with the stress of studying, then also having to deal with the idea that my life is not valued on this campus.”
On Sunday, campus police arrested 19-year-old Michael Sorkin for the racist vandalism. Photos obtained by The Boston Globe showed slurs scribbled in what appeared to be a black permanent marker on furniture, walls, blinds, a white board and a bathroom mirror in the basement of Welch Hall, located on BC’s Upper Campus.
University spokesman Jack Dunn confirmed the graffiti has since been removed.
Sorkin was suspended from campus and is charged with malicious destruction of property, CBS Boston reported. The sophomore is also facing charges for assaulting a campus officer at the time of his arrest, which followed a separate Saturday incident where he reportedly discharged a fire extinguisher in another campus dormitory.
Sorkin was committed to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center where he’ll “likely remain for several days” to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to Dunn.
In a statement, Boston College said “it condemns these reprehensible actions in the strongest terms” and promised to provide assistance to students affected by them.
This isn’t the first time the Jesuit Catholic college has been rocked by racial incidents, however. Last October, two Black Lives Matter posters were defaced and, weeks later, pictures of a scorched Philly cheese steak with the caption “I like my steak and cheese like I like my slaves” made its rounds on social media.
Sophomore Adin Henderson said that while students are upset, they aren’t surprised because incidents like this happen every year. Fellow sophomore Berlindyne Elie said she’s just happy the vandal was arrested and charged.
“This is the first time they’ve ever done anything like that,” Elie told CBS Boston. “They [Boston College Police] should not be applauded for that, we should be saying ‘yes finally! Thank you for doing your job.’”
Still, Assogba and other students argued the college could do more to address anti-Black sentiments on campus. Of the institution’s more than 14,000 students, racial/ethnic minorities account for 33 percent of the student body — and just 4 percent are Black.
“It’s something that they really need to address but they don’t,” said Assogba, who’s on student government. “Those daily encounters where people don’t really care about Black struggle or Black history, it’s promoting an environment where people feel this is acceptable.”
Sorkin’s next court date is scheduled for December 20th.
Watch more in the video below.