On Monday, Oct. 21, an email from Campus Safety was sent to the entirety of the Albion College community to inform them that graffiti with homophobic and racist messages was found on a mirror in Seaton Hall. The graffiti included a pentagram with 666 written around it, “KKK”and an anti-LGBTQ reference.
Based on current information, campus safety believes that the graffiti was written on the mirror sometime before 8 a.m.Oct. 21.Campus Safety is currently working on identifying the individual responsible in order to hold that person accountable for those actions.
In response to the incident, President Mauri Ditzler, along with Leroy Wright,Marc Roy, Hernan Bucheli, Dee McCormick and Robert Anderson from the student development office, sent out emails condemning the action and reaffirming Albion’s intended identity as a place of diversity and inclusivity.
Following the emails, two events were scheduled to publicly address the incident. The first event was a community conversation held on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. The second event was a silent march modeled after the NAACP silent parade of 1917, which took place on Friday, Oct. 25 at 12 p.m.
The community conversation, led by students, saw the gathering of faculty, professors and students,in the Mary Sykes room of Baldwin Hall, to talk about their emotions and reactions to the incident in Seaton Hall.
Many students at the event expressed their frustration and anger with the repetition of racist incidents on campus and the lack of systemic change that follows them. Kai Bratton, one of the students to witness the graffiti, expressed this sentiment.
“This happens every six months, and then it blows over. It can’t be like that,” said Bratton,“It’s just the same exact thing. Eventually, you are going to need a change.”
All who attended the event shared Bratton’s desire for change. Those present discussed how they wanted the college to address the environment that leads to the racist incidents that happen on campus and the issues that those in minority groups on campus face in both the short term and the long term.
Over 100 students, faculty and staff gathered outside of Baldwin Hall where they were addressed by the Umbrella council president, Isaac Verhelst, a senior from Saginaw, Mich., before marching on the common grounds of the campus. The march concluded at the quad, where the crowd gathered around the rock.
Around the rock, an open floor was presented to anyone in the crowd who had anything they wanted to say on either the incident itself or how they feel the community should reflect on it. Several students shared their personal experiences on campus, a joint statement from Greek Life condemned the incident and President Ditzler encouraged solidarity amongst everyone on campus against hate.
After everyone spoke, Verhelst concluded the envent. He stated that there is still a lot of work to do for Albion to become a welcoming place for everyone and that everybody needs to work together for that goal to be attained.
“It’s going to take a lot of work from everyone,” said Verhelst, “not just minority students but majority students as well.”