GVSU Investigating Racist Threat Left on Dorm Door

Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 18, 2014

ALLENDALE, Mich. (Feb. 18, 2014) — Grand Valley State University is investigating an incident where a black student found a racist threat written on their dorm room door’s message board Monday morning.

According to Dean of Students Bart Merkle, the student returned to the Copeland Living Center and found the sketch written on their message board.

The sketch shows a person being hanged, with X’s for their eyes. In addition to the drawing, there was also an anti-Black History Month comment along with other racial slurs.

“This is not something that we are used to having in our community,” Merkle said.  “That hate really has no place on a campus or any place.”

FOX 17 spoke with a different student who lives in Copeland Living Center. She said this has also happened to her on two other occasions and that she’s removed the board from her door to avoid the negativity and racial comments.

“I’m just disgusted by coming to my room and seeing the negative messages on the door,” the woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, said. “I feel uncomfortable…what do people have against me here? I’m a freshman… why cant we just get along?”

The woman we spoke to said she plans to leave GVSU after winter semester because of the racism she and her roommates are being exposed to.

Dean Merkle said staff is talking with the students in the dorm and trying to find the person or people responsible so they can be held accountable.

“We have to first try to identify who’s responsible.  If we believe this is intimidation and threatening, which I think a very good case could be made for that, then we might well choose to use our disciplines system in terms of reviewing and making some decisions. If we felt that it violated the law, our campus police would take it to the prosecutor and if it was deemed to be a potential violation of the law we would probably prosecute it.”

 According to Merkle, in the fall of 2013, 12 bias incident reports were filed. Of those, three of them involved race and ethnicity.