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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Hate speech found in Steiner

Emma Friedlander, News Editor

Two written messages of hate speech were found in Steiner Hall last Friday, May 6. A special all-campus memo sent by the College’s Chief Diversity Officer, Lakesia Johnson, explained that the messages referenced the KKK and white supremacy.

Upon their discovery, the messages were immediately photographed and documented, reported to Johnson, Campus Safety and Security and Student Affairs and then removed.

“These messages of hate are unacceptable in our community, as this creates a hostile environment and violates both our core values and our standards as an inclusive community,” Johnson wrote in the campus memo. She noted that the College’s response followed the procedures outlined by Grinnell’s Hate Crimes and Bias-Motivated Incidents Policy.

This policy stresses the difference between a hate crime and a bias-motivated incident; the incident in Steiner qualifies as a bias-motivated incident. Hate crimes are defined as criminal acts of hostility that require identification by local police. A
bias-motivated incident, on the other hand, is an expression of hostility targeted towards a person or group on the basis of their identity. The College is required to inform the community about the occurrence with details such as the location and bias of the messages. However, details about the content are not disclosed to the public.

These messages in Steiner are not the first instances of hate speech to occur at Grinnell this year. In December 2015, occupants of a truck near campus were reported to shout racial slurs at passersby. In March 2016, Johnson reported that a group of students on campus were verbally assaulted due to their race. These racially based bias-motivated incidents occurred among the release of a series of Clery reports related to sexual harassment and assault earlier this semester.

“In terms of future plans, Grinnell’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion is working on an educational campaign about the policy that will be rolled out in the fall,” Johnson wrote in an email to the S&B.

Although Johnson could not disclose what this campaign will entail, it is clear that recent events have inspired Campus Safety and Security to take further steps in properly responding to and deterring bias-motivated incidents on campus.

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