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.


Chris Colombo

Dean of Student Affairs

Columbia College

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering

and Applied Science