An email from Dean Colombo to Carman residents reveals that some homophobic graffiti was applied to the pillar outside the freshman dorm on February 11th, and was removed about a week later. Colombo’s email, reproduced below the jump, asserts that the slow response time in dealing with such incidents will be looked into in the future and improved. In the meantime, the administration has met with student council representatives and LGBTQ community leaders, and will be hosting events meant to address the issue. An investigation has also been launched with Public Safety.
Bwog continues to look into the incident and is awaiting further details from Dean Colombo. One pressing question: the pillar is visible and accessible to anyone walking through that part of campus, so why have (apart from the aforementioned student leaders) only Carman residents been involved thus far?
February 27, 2007
Dear Carman residents,
I am emailing to update you on the biased writing that was drawn on the
pillar outside of Carman. As many of you know, on Sunday, February
11th, an RA reported the graffiti to Public Safety. The graffiti, which
consisted of homophobic language, challenged the very core of our
community’s values. This is not acceptable to you, to me, or to any
members of our community.
Once Residential Programs and the Office of Multicultural Affairs were
made aware of this act of vandalism, we immediately acted to ensure that
steps were being taken to remove the graffiti, to inform and counsel key
constituencies (including LGBTQ student leaders), and to launch an
investigation with Public Safety. These actions were based on agreed
upon protocols designed to respond to incidents such as these. Despite
several attempts, however, the language was not effectively removed
until over a week after the incident. We have spoken with the offices
of Housing & Dining and Facilities, and they have expressed regret for
the delay that it took for those words to be entirely removed from the
entrance to your home. In response to this, Housing & Dining and
Facilities have evaluated their methods for immediately covering and
then permanently removing such graffiti. These two offices are also
acting to acquire the necessary equipment to improve response time in
the regrettable case that it is needed in the future.
I understand that this incident violated your sense of home, and we take
that very seriously. On March 2nd at 2:30pm in the Carman lounge, the
Office of Multicultural Affairs will be hosting a program to bring us
together in understanding how biased actions and behaviors impact the
community as a whole. This program, Not in Our Home: Communities in
Response and Dialogue will discuss how we can support and be allies to
one another, what we can do collectively to address the issues at hand,
and what proactive measures we can take to continue educating each
other. We hope that you will participate in what promises to be an
important and engaging event.
Incidents such as this one remind us of the need to continually work
together to strengthen the procedures and protocols that we have
designed to uphold our community values. The success of our work thus
far is in large part the result of student input through key
constituency leaders, our Community Principles Initiative committee, and
Student Leadership Summits. The work of those groups continues as we
explore how to improve immediacy of response, educate those around us
about acts of hate and intolerance, and engage all members of our
community to work actively towards a sustained, supportive environment.
We all share a responsibility to maintain the values of our community.
The Division of Student Affairs is committed to ensuring that this
campus is a home to all of you. I look forward to working with each of
you as we empower ourselves to overcome acts of hate.
Dean of Student Affairs
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering
and Applied Science