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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Racial harassment reported on campus

Campus Safety and Security was notified in the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 1 about a grey pickup truck driving with a Confederate flag on display around the JRC. The occupants of the vehicle allegedly used a megaphone to shout racial slurs at campus community members.

Stephen Briscoe, Director of Security, wrote in an email to The S&B that Campus Safety and Security investigated the report, spotted the vehicle and contacted the Grinnell Police Department. However, the vehicle was on public streets, so Campus Security was unable to stop them.

Grinnell Police Department officers were able to identify the driver after checking the area around the JRC. According to Briscoe, the police warned the driver about the consequences of harassment. Notably, a truck with a Confederate flag was seen around campus last year as well, but Briscoe stated that it wasn’t confirmed whether or not it was the same truck and driver.

A campus-wide email that was sent out shortly after the incident took place advised students in similar situations to get as much information regarding the vehicle and its occupants, to call 911 immediately and/or contact the Office of Campus Safety and Security, but to avoid engaging or interacting with the occupants in any way.

Incidents such as this one that are characterized by racial bias and sexual orientation bias are tracked in the Jeanne Clery Annual Security Report, a federally-mandated annual review of crime on and around college campuses. If this incident is deemed to be a crime, it will be reported in the College’s Clery Act statistics for 2014, but the investigation is currently open and no witnesses have come forward.

In 2013, there were two incidents characterized by racial bias and one characterized by sexual orientation bias on Grinnell’s main campus. None were reported on the Grinnell-in-London or Grinnell-in-Washington campuses.

Briscoe added that he hopes Grinnellians who may have witnessed the incident will come forward and report the crime in order to get a better understanding of the incident.

  “Without a witness, it’s difficult to substantiate whether any racial slurs were uttered. If you witnessed the incident, or if you have any information concerning the incident, please contact the Office of Campus Safety and Security at (641)-269-4600,” Briscoe wrote.

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