By Sade Smith, News Editor
Last week, before the long holiday weekend, graffiti was found on the second floor of the Liberal Arts (LARTS) Building.
Homophobic and racist statements in bright colors not only attacked specific members of the community but gave praise to others, seemingly superior. These words shocked many students and left most feeling uncomfortable. Senior graphic design major Ashley Lima said, “I feel unsafe, people in my community clearly have no respect towards others.”
As this is a campus known to be supportive of its diversity, a handful of students took to social media to disapprove of the deeply offensive message. While the vandalism has since been covered up with cardboard, the fact that someone did it at all reminds students that a small handful of the community do not approve of others’ identities.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Cynthia Cummings, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Jeannette Riley, co-signed a letter to the UMass Dartmouth community, sent out Tuesday, April 18. “As co-chairs of the University’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, we express our concern and support for those who were adversely affected.”
In this campus-wide letter, they also reminded students of the significance of learning productively about the barriers between the UMass Dartmouth community. Just last month at the “Teach-In: Building Bridges and Creating Change,” faculty and students were given that opportunity to share and listen amongst their peers. While these sorts of conversations happen often in cultural student organizations on campus, a campus wide effort was made to open students up to a range of diversity.
Most students hope that these aggressive actions do not continue, in lieu of the political state of the country. “I’m surrounded by people who feel that it’s okay to just go around and express themselves in such a way, keep the ignorance to yourself! ” Lima said.