GVSU investigates ‘hateful’ slurs on dry erase board

Racial slurs written on a GVSU student's white board. (Courtesy ReportIt - Feb. 18, 2014)
Racial slurs written on a GVSU student's white board. (Courtesy ReportIt - Feb. 18, 2014)

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Valley State University officials are investigating what appears to be an incident of racism involving a student’s white board.

Negative messages were discovered on the dry erase board attached a Copeland Living Center dorm room door. The room is occupied by a black student, according to a GVSU spokesperson.

The word “die” and an image of stick figure labeled “black” being lynched were written on the board. “F*** Black History Month,” and “Black B****” was also written on the board.

Dean of Students Bart Merkle told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday evening that the situation was brought to his attention Monday afternoon. He called the writing “hateful” and “intimidating.”

“This is not the way we want to have anybody in our community treated,” Merkle said. “Our community values respect and civility.”

He said university officials are following up with the students affected, the housing department is following up with other residents  and asking for their cooperation, and campus police are investigating.

“We care very deeply about our students,” Merkle said. “Intimidation is not consistent with our values as a university community.”

“We value freedom of speech, and this is an incident that goes beyond the speech into intimidation and into targeting and threats,” he continued.

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