Student Identified for Racist Mitchell Towers Graffiti

On Monday and Tuesday, students held demonstrations calling for change in response to recent racist and anti-Semitic actions on campus. The individual behind these actions has recently been identified (Photo by Savannah Waddick).

CW/TW: This article features content regarding racism and racial slurs, including images of racist graffiti targeting Black students. While all profanities, including slurs, are censored, readers’ discretion is advised. 

An Albion College student was identified as the person responsible for a string of racist and anti-Semitic messages written in the Mitchell Towers residence hall from March 28 to April 6, according to an email sent by the College from President Mathew Johnson on Wednesday morning. 

This comes one day after Johnson and Leroy Wright, dean of students, announced via email that the FBI would be supporting the Albion Department of Public Safety (ADPS) and the Office of Campus Safety in their investigation. 

This announcement was followed by another mark of graffiti within Mitchell Towers that read, “Call the swat #KKKTime.” 

In a statement shared with the Pleiad, Johnson said the individual responsible for the graffiti acknowledged their responsibility for their actions with video and audio evidence corroborating their claim. 

“Earlier today, we identified the individual responsible for the racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in Mitchell Towers,” said Johnson via email. “The student, who was acting alone, acknowledged their responsibility for these incidents, and was immediately removed from campus and placed on temporary suspension while we conduct a full investigation as part of our student judicial process.” 

Johnson specified in an additional email sent Wednesday afternoon to students and staff that the individual was a “current student of color.” No further information about who the student is or the motive for their actions has been provided.

Local law enforcement does not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community. 

The news of the identification of the responsible student was supplemented with a series of conversations on Wednesday between the College and members of the community. 

“Upon identifying this individual, we met with several key groups within the Albion community—students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders—to shape the College’s response together,” said Johnson via email. “Those meetings were both productive and emotional, and we thank those who participated in what will be a critical and ongoing conversation on campus.” 

In his statement to the Pleiad, Johnson also acknowledged the College’s past with racist incidents. 

“It is important to acknowledge that we know the acts of racism that have occurred this week are not about one particular person or one particular incident,” said Johnson via email. “We know that there is a significant history of racial pain and trauma on campus, that the college has not always responded well to that pain and trauma, and we are taking action to repair our community. We will change and heal together as a community, because we are committed to doing the work. Right now, we encourage all members of our community to listen, respond and care for one another, and lean on the faculty, staff, and community members who have been gathering today to make sure we are supporting you. We have your back.”

Since March 28, Mitchell Towers has been vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti on at least four different occasions. One of the most violent messages came on Monday when the message, “White lives Matter Rally at 4/7/2021 Let’s Kill all N—— on this Campus” was left. 

This message was acknowledged by Johnson in another email sent to all students, staff and faculty on Tuesday. 

“We are aware of the threats related to a potential counter-rally focused around racist and white supremacist ideas on campus this week,” said Johnson via email. “We are working proactively with campus safety and local law enforcement and both are prepared to respond should something occur on campus. The safety and protection of our students is our top priority, and we are committed to affirming our students’ right to live in an area that is free of intimidation, physical, or emotional harm.” 

The graffiti in Mitchell Towers is one of three incidents of anti-Black racism on and near campus since March 26. On March 26, a Black student was harassed and threatened by a non-student while driving. On March 27, a Residential Assistant in Wesley Hall found a racist message written on the whiteboard of their door. 

ADPS has identified a person of interest in the incident from March 26. No further updates have been given regarding the incident from March 27. Both cases are still ongoing. 

The Office of Campus Safety was reached out to for comment but did not respond in time for the publication of this article. 

Anyone with additional information about these incidents is encouraged to contact Albion College Campus Safety (csafety@albion.edu or 517-629-1234) or the Albion Department of Public Safety (517-629-3933) to make a report.

About Samantha Semerau 24 Articles
Samantha Semerau is a junior at Albion College from Oakland Twp., Michigan. She is double majoring in English and History. She is also member of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and is involved in many organizations on campus. Following graduation, Samantha intends to enter the field of editing and publishing.

19 Comments

  1. Thank you for covering this Sam! As you said in the article, “the graffiti in Mitchell Towers is one of three incidents of anti-Black racism on and near campus.” Our work as students is to make sure everyone is safe and feels supported on this campus. It’s up to all of us to work tirelessly to make Albion College a true place of belonging where everyone feels heard and valued.

  2. Has the University pressed charges and expelled the man for trying to stir up racial animosity on campus? If the school doesn’t expel this student, I hope to see just as many students show up to the protest that demands his expulsion.

  3. This was a HOAX. How hard is it to call it a hoax? Why are you continuing to write and talk about it as a thing other than a hoax? Shame on you. It’s like you almost wish there were neo nazis on campus.

  4. I suppose it doesn’t matter that it’s a hoax. These actions generated all sorts of editorials claiming the campus is awash in bigotry and that dramatic action must be taken and so on. The editor practically opened up a vein he was so immersed in white guilt.

    Those editorials will not be retracted or even reconsidered. No lessons will be learned concerning healthy skepticism or keeping one’s feet on the ground or waiting for the all the facts to come in. No, the manufactured hysteria will be the only thing really remembered.

  5. Only in paragraph six do we discover that the perpetrator is a “student of color”, and it’s the only time it’s mentioned. In other words, one has to read the article carefully to discover that the graffiti was likely a hoax carried out to generate political unrest.

    This is called “burying the lede”.

  6. so another Jussie Smollett? And who was the black (biracial) nascar driver with a fake noose incident? So many of these fake. the kid probably on a full ride scholarship too. Always the most privileged think their oppressed. LOL You have it so good you got to create fake racism!

  7. another jussie smollett. why not call this what it is….race baiting by some seriously ill individual. there is no place for this person in the college community. He needs to be with other angry young men and deal with that which he is promoting. albion is bending over backwards to increase their minority student body. can;t fill it with suburban white kids anymore so they are reaching into chicago. Nothing wrong with that but it is bringing a major culture change to this small midwestern campus.

  8. This was a hate crime. A black student attempted to promote hate against those that did not look like him. The Nazis used the same tactics against Jews in the 1930’s
    He needs to be charged with a hate crime

  9. The fake concern by the students and administration of this mediocre institution for their Jewish students is nauseating. The second this was revealed to be a hoax, no one cared for those students anymore. They never did. I hope these kids protest. I hope they trash the school. They all deserve each other.

  10. The way you can tell these incidents is the writings are a little too perfect. Don’t people read about all the other exposed fake hate crimes and realize it looks really bad when you are caught doing this, and only hurts your own people? Also, it’s a hate crime as you a pretending to be the fake hateful people who hate on black people, creating hate against fake white people, but real white people get the blow-back. Also, why, since it was a black student arrested and much of the graffiti was anti-black, does this article just say a ‘person of color’ was identified? Leaves open the possibility that a Puerto Rican student did this, one who actually hated black people. But a black person doing it is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish.

  11. The day that arises where hoaxes dare not be called such, and where the hoaxer is shielded from responsibility, and instead those who are innocent are forced to still face the accusations and potentially bear false judgement — is a very dark day indeed.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. REPORT: Black Student Was Responsible For Racist ‘KKK’ Graffiti Found On College Campus | Patriots Make History
  2. REPORT: Black Student Was Responsible For Racist ‘KKK’ Graffiti Found On College Campus – American Patriots
  3. The Racist Incident That Wasn’t – One America Northwest Arkansas

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