“We will also deploy our resources, including appropriate law enforcement agencies, to discover who was responsible for sending any threatening messages. There will be accountability.” – Michael Roth
Three days ago, on Wednesday night, a student on campus who has yet to make themselves known placed a note containing a despicable racial slur in an Asian student’s backpack. Thursday night, the Asian American Student Collective (AASC) released a statement on the incident and hosted a space for safety and discussion on Thursday night.
Most frighteningly, the incident on Wednesday night was repeated. Friday evening, the AASC released a statement regarding an incident where a note containing a swastika and several slurs was slipped under the door of the same student that was the target of the hate speech that occurred Wednesday night.
In the statement, the AASC states “This is horrifying. This is violent. This is a hate crime.” The collective is also offering support in a variety of ways. Students can contact them via their Facebook page or by calling (415) 728-4728. See the full statement at the right.
Several students and alumni have been responding on social media, demanding justice be brought by the Wesleyan administration to whomever is responsible. Lynn Chen ’98 asked President Roth via Twitter what was being done about this hate crime:
— Lynn Chen (@MsLynnChen) November 12, 2016
Wayne Ng ’16 responded to the incident on Twitter by calling on the Wesleyan community to hold each other accountable:
— Wayne (@worldwydewayne) November 12, 2016
This morning, President Roth sent an all-campus email in response to the instances of hate speech. In it, he sat that the Wesleyan community “must ensure that our campus is free from threats emerging from vile ideologies and hate-filled hearts.” He also said that the university will deploy resources and contact appropriate law enforcement agencies to hold the sender(s) of these notes accountable. Here is the full text of his email:
In the past few days a few Wesleyan students have received racist, threatening messages. This is completely unacceptable, and the University will fully support anyone targeted by hateful messages of this kind. We will also deploy our resources, including appropriate law enforcement agencies, to discover who was responsible for sending any threatening messages. There will be accountability.
The public sphere in this country has been for months polluted with an outpouring of racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric. The pain of targeted groups is real because the threats are real, and we must acknowledge those threats and work to stop them from infecting our lives and our campus. We must fight to protect people of color and religious minorities from violence driven by socially sanctioned scapegoating and bullying. We must ensure that our friends in LGBTQ communities are not marginalized by newly empowered narrow-mindedness taking control of our legal system. And we must ensure that our campus is free from threats emerging from vile ideologies and hate-filled hearts.
Wesleyan will never retreat from our mission of creating an inclusive and equitable community. We are open to debate, to challenging ideas, but we will never back down in the face of crude bigotry.
If you know of people who have been targeted, please support them and urge them to report online HERE.
This is a challenging time in our country and on our campus. By looking out for one another, taking care of one another, we will find ways to cultivate the values that sustain our educational community and protect the people who have made it their home.
It needs to be stated again: this is absolutely vile, and whoever is responsible for this needs to be held accountable and need not be a member of the Wesleyan community. This targeted hate is violent and is happening on campuses across the country.
Safety only happens here when students, faculty, staff, and administrators work to create it. If you know of any similar incidents, please make them known. If you know who is responsible for this or any other similar act, please make their names known. If you have the emotional energy to care for your peers in the face of such extreme hate, please do that. If all you need to do is care for yourself, do so in the most robust of ways.