Residents of the 8th floor in the Christiana West Tower walked out of their rooms Thursday evening to find threatening racial slurs written on a bulletin board intended for kind messages.
Some of the messages on the board read: “Trump is going to Deport all of you Bitch ass Mexicanos and taliban members from this tower” [sic] and “Fuck n—–s.”
University spokeswoman Andrea Boyle-Tippett confirmed that graffiti appeared on the bulletin board in the West Tower that night. The incident was reported to university police, who responded immediately and removed it from the wall.
Boyle-Tippett said the university believes it was posted between 9:00 and 11:30 p.m. and was eliminated by midnight.
It is unclear at this point if a resident or a visitor to the floor wrote the messages. A university-issued ONEcard programmed for the building is necessary to gain access into the West Tower, however it is possible for non-residents to enter the building when others exit and hold the door.
The bulletin board, which was posted on Monday, was only up for three days before it was vandalized, causing Abbey Goslin, a junior and the floor’s resident assistant, to call her Residence Hall Coordinator Vlad Rodriguez and the UDPD to take down the board and file a report.
“It was honestly pretty disappointing,” Goslin said. “Just because based on the community that I’ve built and been a part of, it’s just not who they are. So I don’t think it’s anyone from our community. It was just heartbreaking knowing that this happened in a place where I, and others, felt safe.”
Goslin said she would not go as far as to say her residents now feel unsafe. Instead, the floor is attributing the hateful messages to drunk visitors trying to be “that guy,” she said.
Many of the residents did not see the actual messages on the board, as Goslin had them removed as soon as she saw them, which was around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, she said.
Maya Chester-Ziv, a sophomore resident of the floor, said she noticed more support among the residents in the days that have followed the incident.
“I’ve noticed people coming together more; it’s a lot of support,” Chester-Ziv said. “I don’t think it was someone from our floor, so there’s a lot of love and incorporating others going on.”
In a Facebook post, Goslin shared the story and encouraged others to promote kindness and compassion on campus. She emphasized the importance of standing together and denouncing hateful acts and words.
“I think the community that we’ve built is a positive and safe one,” Goslin said. “They liked the original idea of the board, and they were sad to see it go because they really enjoyed being able to walk in and off the floor and see encouraging messages, especially when it’s so late in the semester.”
Kathleen Kerr, the executive director of Residence Life and Housing, stated in an email message that the university “takes incidents of graffiti targeting a person’s or group’s social identity very seriously.”
She went on to say that the university has a protocol in place that includes the immediate notification of university police and Residence Life and Housing staff.
“The University is committed to building an environment of inclusive excellence where our students feel welcome, safe and valued,” she stated in the message. “This incident runs counter to that sentiment and RLH staff members are reaching out to any student potentially impacted to ensure they are aware of available campus resources, and are offered support.”