GVSU Investigating Racist Threat Left on Dorm Door

ALLENDALE, Mich. (Feb. 18, 2014) — Grand Valley State University is investigating an incident where a black student found a racist threat written on their dorm room door’s message board Monday morning.

According to Dean of Students Bart Merkle, the student returned to the Copeland Living Center and found the sketch written on their message board.

The sketch shows a person being hanged, with X’s for their eyes. In addition to the drawing, there was also an anti-Black History Month comment along with other racial slurs.

“This is not something that we are used to having in our community,” Merkle said.  “That hate really has no place on a campus or any place.”

FOX 17 spoke with a different student who lives in Copeland Living Center. She said this has also happened to her on two other occasions and that she’s removed the board from her door to avoid the negativity and racial comments.

“I’m just disgusted by coming to my room and seeing the negative messages on the door,” the woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, said. “I feel uncomfortable…what do people have against me here? I’m a freshman… why cant we just get along?”

The woman we spoke to said she plans to leave GVSU after winter semester because of the racism she and her roommates are being exposed to.

Dean Merkle said staff is talking with the students in the dorm and trying to find the person or people responsible so they can be held accountable.

“We have to first try to identify who’s responsible.  If we believe this is intimidation and threatening, which I think a very good case could be made for that, then we might well choose to use our disciplines system in terms of reviewing and making some decisions. If we felt that it violated the law, our campus police would take it to the prosecutor and if it was deemed to be a potential violation of the law we would probably prosecute it.”

 According to Merkle, in the fall of 2013, 12 bias incident reports were filed. Of those, three of them involved race and ethnicity.

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18 comments

  • Pips

    What is an "anti-Black History Month comment"? Why didn't you just include it in the article? You're most likely making this whole story up because there's no proof anywhere in the story.

  • cracka

    I don't believe it, another false flag.
    So many of these "hate crimes" turn out to bogus.

    On the other hand, the last time i was called "cracker" no one gave a hoot…that's not a crime.
    So …

  • supa cracka

    Well…lets see…
    I'm white aka cracker and most everyone I know is white, and yet I don't know anyone who hates blacks, looks down on blacks or calls blacks names…

    Without racism what would liberals do for votes…raise taxes ? oh wait.

    • Karma

      GVSU is too cheap to set up cameras. Trust me, I live on campus and they don't even shell out for 2 ply toilet paper or an exterminator to clean up the rat problem, let alone fancy cameras.

  • TheFoundingFathers

    Well not to be a dick but this either is just some fool looking for attention or there is a good reason that this keeps happening to her. Think they should look into this because something doesn't seem to add up here. On another note this is just from experience but I would say that 80% of the time I am in downtown gr eating anywhere near the S.E. side when there are black people in the restaurant I can here "my nigger" or "dat nigger" or blah blah blah you get the picture it's actually kind of funny how these people can just yell that crap out and then cry race card all day long.

    • YourADumAzz

      Are all white people the same? Since a white guy killed someone yesterday, then all white people must be bad right? That makes so much sense! I knew it was true! Just needed some random dumbass on the internet to reinforce my narrow views.

  • Plato

    lol It's disgusting how much covert racism is still present today and it's even more hilarious that while most of the comments here are prejudiced they at the same time refuse to acknowledge that the prejudice still exists. I know people that go to this school and I saw a picture of the comments in question so I doubt it's fake. You'd like to believe it's fake though so you don't have to face up to the bigger issue that people other than you might actually be experiencing unfairness and bias. Man up. Also, no one should call anybody a cracker, I am a firm believer that people can be prejudiced both ways, but just because that happens, it doesn't make any other type of racism less serious, and you do understand why it's less frowned upon to be called a cracker right? The term is less loaded and fueled by actual racial injustice, and "crackers" are also the minority so there is just going to be less sting. It's the same thing with calling a man a pig and then calling a girl a slut. Being called a slut is going to hurt more because our society is patriarchal and people don't tend to associate alienation or even offense with being a pig even though it means the same as slut connotatively. Also, please don't talk about being able to do anything because you're black, you sound ignorant and you're completely ignoring white privelage and all the disadvantages of being a minority in American society. Are you guys this willing to not think that you have to fool yourselves this hard? Wow. Lastly, don't blame the victim when you have a lack of information, especially for something like this. If she did something she should've been called out based on her actions, not her skin color that she has no control over and definitely not by extension, all other black people who have nothing to do with her. Also, The word is "re-appropriation" when it comes to that "my nigga" thing. It's a legitimate thing that people do when a word has been used to oppress them, it takes back some of the power. There are other examples such as the word "queer" for the gay community, look it up and educate yourself.

    • Leah

      THANK YOU for commenting with worthwhile information and knowledge aside from all of the others who are in denial of social problems like this still existing in our country. I appreciate your unbiased and intelligent words.

  • Kaite

    Wow, this is such a sad, unfortunate event.

    I wish the person who lives in this Residence Hall peace of mind, safety and happiness. I hope that you still feel supported and encouraged in other ways at your University and that you're connected to peers both black, brown and white. I hope that in the future, should you choose to transfer, you are welcomed and treated kindly.

    At the end of the day, all you can be accountable for are the choices you made and the way that you impacted other peoples lives. I always want to stand on the right side of hate. I always want to be accepting and understanding.

  • Rachel

    This story sad but not surprising. Racism happens everyday but its not this blunt except when the person is able to hide behind a computer screen or in this case a white board. I’ve seen the photo and they don’t say the comments outright because the news isn’t allowed to display the words. Its interesting to note the amount of victim blaming that’s done on these comments. Stop denying that -isms exsist. The world isn’t peaches and rainbows. Just because you and your friends are not racist doesn’t mean no one is racist. Its so much that can be said a million more that things could be done but this is just a comment on a news site.

  • davidjay

    Well, it was a hoax. Black Student wrote it on their own door:

    Posted on March 21, 2014

    Statement from Grand Valley Police Department Chief Renee Freeman:

    The Grand Valley State University Police Department has concluded a thorough investigation of the Racial Bias incident reported on February 17, 2014. The person believed to be responsible for the drawing and language written on the dry erase board is a Grand Valley student and the owner of the message board.

    The incident has had a disruptive impact on the community and as a result, the student has been referred to the Dean of Students for a student code violation. University policy does not permit the release of his/her name.

    – See more at: http://www.gvsu.edu/gvnow/index.htm?articleId=F83