By Chris Krauss
Two days after the end of the eighth annual “Stop Hatin’” week at Salisbury University, on April 10, a racially charged drawing was found on a whiteboard in Blackwell Library.
Although SU’s administration has not come forward with new information, a faculty member told The Flyer two students were a part of the drawing.
“I can confirm two students have been identified,” English associate professor James King said, “and are both African-American.”
King declined to give more information.
The SU Police Department is currently investigating the incident as a hate crime. However, they have not named any suspects. This could prove difficult, though, as there are no cameras in the study room in which the whiteboard was located.
The SUPD was unable to comment on the issue due to their ongoing investigation.
The drawing was accompanied with both a racial slur and the hashtag “#WhitePower” written next to it.
It is believed that the drawing was placed and found on the whiteboard around 5 p.m., and word about it started circulating when a picture of it was taken on Snapchat and sent out with the hashtag “#onlyATSalisbury” attached.
The picture was screenshotted and put onto Twitter and spread through text messaging.
Several students reacted to this photo on social media, including National Association for the Advancement Colored People SU Chapter Collegiate Activist Matt Jackson. Jackson was one of the first to tweet about the photo under the Twitter handle @MattJacksonDC, tagging SU, several of SU’s media groups and local media sources.
“So this is what we as students have to deal with @SalisburyU,” Jackson tweeted. “Mightas well call it ‘DIE’versity.”
Other students reacted to the picture, as well, including an SU student who claimed to have seen the drawing herself.
“Wow,” @Briyaa tweeted, “I have no words. Whoever drew this in Blackwell is sick. This makes me angry as hell.” She later tweeted, “That just ruined my whole mood. That board was in the room I just left from. Would loveeee to know who went in after.”
One student, in response to the tweets from @Briyaa, blamed the SU’s Student Government Association for the drawing and claimed they must of been the ones to draw it.
@HappY_FeeTx tweeted, “The sga here prolly the ones who drew it,” to which the SGA replied “Our SGA is passionate about diversity and inclusion. We notified administration about this horrific image early this morning.”
An email was sent out to the campus community by SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach the morning after the incident to discuss what had happened.
The email noted that this incident directly followed “Stop Hatin’” week, and that during the week she was “heartened to see many members of the campus come together” and “celebrating diversity and inclusion at Salisbury University and beyond.”
“Stop Hatin’” week is a weeklong event held by SU’s Multicultural Student Services and SGA, whose mission statement explicitly states that it was created to promote diversity and acceptance.
The event’s Facebook page says that it is targeted towards all races, genders, body types and religions and is an attempt to “break down the barriers that often arise through stereotypes and unrealistic perceptions.”
Dudley-Eshbach then noted the diversion from this effort with this drawing. The email did not include any concrete details as to what the drawing entailed, describing the drawing as “an act of intolerance.”
“A decision was made not to describe the photo to avoid re-victimizing those impacted,” Vice President of Student Affairs Dane Foust said. “The disturbing image and language already were widespread on social media. The most important priority for the president was to swiftly inform the campus community and remind all that the Salisbury promise and our core values clearly affirm a culture of civility and understanding.”
The SU promise is a mantra provided by the school stating “As a Salisbury University student I will connect what I learn to how I live, I will demonstrate personal and academic integrity, I will respect diverse groups and individuals and I will strive to bring honor to myself and the university.”
However, Foust said both SU and SUPD are working closely to find who did this and come up with a suitable consequence for the drawing.
“Consequences will depend on the outcome of the investigation.” Foust said. “The University has a student hearing process which enforces its student code of conduct.”