GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Raymond King will never forget what he came home to on September 15, he said. He was walking toward his on-campus apartment at Aquinas College around 7:30 p.m. when he noticed a note that appeared to be wedged underneath his front door.
Then he opened the handwritten note and it read Go Home F*** N***.
“I was just in shock you know this was my dream school,” said King who’s a sophomore at Aquinas. “As a political scientist, I’ve always known that wherever you go there’s always going to be people who hold those ideological beliefs. It just didn’t strike me that it would happen here until I got that letter.”
King said he briefly felt frightened for a few days following the incident.
He’s been called worse things to his face in the past, he said, but the person’s anonymity was a red flag for him.
“This was just a really new experience where it’s an anonymous note,” King said during a Zoom interview on Monday morning October 5. “They knew where I lived. They knew what apartment door I lived in. And, it was just very unsettling at first.”
Kings family, friends and roommates were unsettled as well and encouraged him to get the school involved, he said. So he did and they launched an investigation.
“What happened there was a gut punch to all of us because that is completely opposite of what it is that we stand for here,” said president Kevin Quinn during a Zoom interview Monday afternoon. “We live and work in the light that the Dominican Sisters have given us and anybody’s who’s spent some time in Grand Rapids knows what an important positive force that they’ve been for social change for a very long time.”
Quinn said they first made sure that King was OK and safe. Then they asked the school’s security team to check the cameras in the area, which they did. However, they didn’t see anything. They asked King if he’d like Grand Rapid police to get involved and place a formal complaint with them. However, he declined.
“I just cannot imagine what possible justification there could be for a student to do something like this, for anybody to do anything like this,” Quinn said. “My initial inclination is this is not anybody we want in our midst.”
Quinn said that the person responsible will face serious consequences. He encourages anyone with information to see him or other school officials.
King said he’s grateful for the school’s help. He often speaks out against racism and xenophobia. He believes it’s a virus that people can’t look away from.
“We’re not afraid.” King said. “We’re here to stay. And I won’t go home because of this.”