Pictured above: Sunday afternoon a racially insensitive message was discovered written in the sand volleyball courts on the south edge of campus. Students and faculty are using this act of bigotry to unite the campus and community.
A racially explicit message was drawn in the sand of the beach volleyball court behind Reid apartments.
The message was two words, but strong in language. Brad Andrews, President of Southwestern College, released a statement on behalf of the college about that message Tuesday.
“Actions and displays such as this are not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” the email from President Andrews stated. The email continued “We are proud of the way our students are responding; they are repudiating an act of hate by issuing a challenge to demonstrate kindness and acceptance.”
The college is still continuing its investigation of the incident and has not ruled out any suspects from enrolled students, or community members.
“The city of Winfield, the Winfield Police department, and a lot of leaders in town have been very supportive in the past of helping us to address, and figure out how we can work to make the campus safer from these types of things,” Andrews continued. “In addition, working with our campus security and staff on campus to say is this related at all.”
The school is figuring out if past incidents on campus have been related in the same geographical locations, meaning for campus security to watch these areas more frequently.
If caught, the student responsible would meet with Dan Falk, dean of students, to speak about disciplinary actions from the student code of conduct policy.
“The punishment could range from a semester suspension to some kind of educational sanction, parental notification, suspension from activities (athletics, or any other kind of campus group), or a combination of a few of those,” Falk explained “We would just need to see the intent and mindset of the student. It just depends on how the interviews would go.”
This is not the first time the school has dealt with these types of issues this school year. The previous issues have been a verbal attack against someone else however, not with vandalism of school property.
“This isn’t the first time that we’ve had issues similar to the situation that occurred,” Anjiah Clemons, director of student life, said, “But I’m just proud that the student body handled it very well, and people are still expressing that they love this place.”
Myron Fisher, mid-level mathematics education senior, posted a screenshotted picture of the message from a friend’s snapchat. That led Fisher to writing a message of his own and posting his message along with the one left in the sand.
Below is Fisher’s response, warning this does contain explicit content and may be sensitive to children.
“There’s just a lot of things going on in the world right now, specifically in America,” Fisher stated. “Just turmoil and a lot of hate going on. All these years being in Winfield it was like being in a bubble, and seeing that here in Winfield kind of burst that bubble.”
Fisher’s message of fighting hate with love and kindness spread virally through the campus affecting student, and faculty members alike. Fisher’s tweet is what notified the president and the dean that the situation had even occurred.
By the time Falk had made his way to the volleyball court the racial slur had already been erased, but the expletive remained. Falk proceeded to rake out the remainder of the message.
President Andrews did commend Fisher on his Twitter response.
“I was really moved by Myron’s response,” Andrews continued. “The drive and desire to affect positive change in the world that’s work that is done by response’s like Myron’s. That is meeting tolerance with intolerance, meeting hate with love, and meeting ignorance with open conversation.”
The school’s investigation is still ongoing. Look for updates on the process of that investigation here on UpdateSC.
Tanner Carlson is a senior majoring in communication. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org