EMU students, faculty protest racist graffiti incidents

- Racist graffiti spotted again on the campus of Eastern Michigan.

It's the third time something like this has happened this fall semester, which has been tense.

"It's hurtful, it's tearful to (have)  to continue and do these protests," said student Brialle Ringer.

The racist graffiti incidents have targeting African-Americans and on Wednesday faculty and students of all races came together to say enough is enough.

In cases going back to September, someone spray painted 'KKK" and "Leave n-words." Each incident disrupted the flow of everyday campus life.

"It's introducing hate to an environment where everyone should be at the same exact level, learning trying to improve themselves," said student Connor Back.

There is a $10,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest. Campus officials don't have any leads, but there's a message to whomever is responsible.

"He or she is doing this intentionally, but here is what they need to know," said an activist at the protest. "Whoever is doing it, as much time as it happens, we will rise."

Professor Ashley Falzetti says racism needs to be discussed and attacked in the classroom.

"If we want to take this on, we have to be direct in what we're saying in the classroom and we have to learn how to handle it," Falzetti.

Heather Neff has taught at EMU for 25 years, and that includes young minority students who have been homeless at one point, to overcome the odds. To be hated for being different only complicates the problem, she said.

"Is it an ongoing problem, of course it is," Neff said. "Is it hyper-intensive now in this election season? Absolutely. We all have to hope that everything takes care of itself in a week and that we can begin to heal as a nation, as a Michigan community and as a university."

Several students at EMU protested Tuesday night, and things got heated according to some who came out the next morning.

"Last night when students were protesting inside of the student center against the 3rd or 4th act of racist hate speech painted on campus, they were threatened with being expelled or and charges brought against them," Ringer said.

A spokesperson for EMU says students broke campus rules by not leaving when a building closed. Wednesday's rally remained peaceful as everyone got their point across.

"It's important to be strategic and to make sure the strategy that you put together is effective," said student Jaren Johnson.

There is another campus event planned for later in November as faculty and students can come and express their concerns.

 

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