The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Another racial bias incident


Systemic problem remains unaddressed

An unknown person wrote the N-word on the white board on a resident’s door in LaFarge Hall. St. Joe’s Office of Public Safety and Security responded and began an investigation, reporting the incident as a “bias incident regarding person(s) unknown writing offensive graffiti on a student’s door” on Oct. 5. The incident was included in the Public Safety reports in the Oct. 9 issue of The Hawk.

In response to the incident, the St. Joe’s community received an email from Interim Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Wadell Ridley. The email reported two separate incidences as follows: “…it is disappointing to learn of recent incidents of bias and exploitation. In the last few weeks, we have had two such incidents on campus whiteboards: one involving racist language and a second involving a sexually explicit drawing.”

There is no doubt that racial bias incidents are “disappointing,” to put it lightly, and yes, this community would like to see this incident investigated and the perpetrator(s) made to answer for their actions.

The administration needs to address acts of racism, systemic racism and racial inequality on this campus. Instead of waiting for someone to be called the N-word, or like last fall when a racial slur was written on a felt board on the door of two black female students, the administration needs to take action and openly discuss the racial injustices on this campus.

Not enough has changed following the initial racial slur incident reported in the Nov. 28, 2018 issue of The Hawk, and if the university doesn’t take more decisive actions to address and communicate these issues, the status quo will continue to be upheld.

In The Hawk’s investigations, and through conversations with the student body, we have discovered that many in the St. Joe’s community are waiting for the university to directly address systemic racism and continued racial inequality.

The first step in directly addressing individual acts of racism, systemic racism and racial inequality on campus is for University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., and the Board of Trustees to invest time and money into hiring a permanent chief inclusion and diversity officer who is supported and fundamentally empowered by university administration.

The second step is for the administration to be transparent with this community. If a racial bias incident occurs and is reported, it should be clearly and directly communicated. It’s not “graffiti,” it’s an overt act of racism: someone wrote the N-word on another student’s property.

It must be clearly communicated by the administration that racial slurs, microaggressions and any acts of racism will not be tolerated on our campus. Repercussions for these acts of racism need to be outlined as well, in order to both deter future incidents and to put action behind the words of the administration.

The administration needs to address acts of racism, systemic racism and racial inequality by taking preliminary action and openly discussing the racial injustices on this campus.

There is not a single reason to wait until another racial bias incident occurs to address acts of racism, systemic racism and racial inequality on a majority white campus, and we have previously made suggestions for the administration to implement more substantive programs to address racism.

If a university created by white, male Jesuit leaders can encompass a mission in pursuit of social justice and strive “to be an inclusive and diverse community,” then it behooves the current administration to recognize that transparency and substantive actions are key to beginning to dismantle systemic racism and racial inequality.

We will not stand for emails from the administration that do not address the systemic issues on this campus, nor will we sit idly by and watch this university wait for a bias incident to occur before racism is addressed. This university’s mission is to promote social justice and care for all people. It’s time the university starts stepping up and supporting marginalized groups without reservation.

We should not have to report on racial bias incidents every semester. However, we will continue to report them until every possible action is taken on the part of the students and administration here to address the culture of racial injustice on this campus; the antithesis of this university’s core mission and values.

The administration continues not to address the paradoxical relationship between racial injustice and the mission of this institution. Even if nobody else will continue the conversation exposing the racial climate of this school, we will continue to do our duty as journalists to inform our readers of these acts of racism and any inadequate responses to acts of racism.

—The Editorial Board


This week’s Editorial Board is comprised of the Managing Editor, Digital Managing Editor, Special Projects Editor, Copy Editors, Photo Editor, Sports Editor, Assistant Features Editor, and Opinions Editor. This editorial reflects the views of the Board and not the entire Hawk staff.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *