MU
Oak Leaves

November 20, 2015

Hate Scrawl Spurs Swift Reply

Sarah Farnam
Karen Kanyike

After a hateful comment was scribbled across a flyer in East Hall last week, students and staff began to brainstorm ways for Manchester’s community to embrace diversity and prevent similar situations.

The marred poster promoted an RA-led event about discrimination and stereotypes, said Letha Parrott, East Hall director. As word about the hateful comment began to spread, President Dave McFadden sent out a campus-wide email to emphasize that such behavior will not be tolerated at Manchester.

“The poster has been removed,” McFadden said. “But the racist comment illustrates how important it is for us to have … discussions.”

To spark discussion, students were invited to a town hall meeting in East Hall. Students were invited to speak out at the forum, Parrott said. “The purpose was to give people an arena to speak honestly
about the incident and how it affected their views on Manchester’s campus and students,” she explained.

“We definitely reached that goal, and people were able to stand up and say ‘this is what Manchester should do.’”

“It was nice having the meeting,” said sophomore biology-chemistry major and East Hall resident Brook Dagnew, but he admits that more is needed. To move forward, East Hall residents came up with several ideas, ranging from mandatory diversity training to an ad campaign showing the impact of racism, Parrott said.

“Students need to be educated and become less desensitized about such controversial issues,” said junior biology-chemistry major Marian Adeyemo.

The University is investigating the hate graffiti, said Parrott, adding that the goal is not necessarily to get the offending student in trouble, but to help the student learn in a safe environment about the impact one’s actions can have on an entire community.

Despite the grief, Parrott is happy with how both students and staff handled the situation. “I am very grateful to all of the students who showed up to the town hall meeting and for the quick response to this. I’m grateful to President Dave for taking the time to get the email out. The response here was amazing and I hope students know that we are working hard to figure out the next steps here. We as a community have to address this.”

Junior computer science major Dagmawi Tadesse also his pleased with the Manchester community
response. “I was glad that there was a meeting about it and also that the president, faculty and staff gave attention to the issue,” she said. “This made me feel like they were concerned.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to report it to University Safety at x5999 or through the Report It! link on the Campus Safety webpage.