Two more bias incidents occur, add to list of unsolved cases

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Two more bias incidents have been reported on and near campus, according to an email sent Friday by Dean of Students Myrna Hernandez.

The email said that “someone driving past the intersection of US 231/Bloomington St. and Anderson St. shouted a racial slur that included the ‘n’ word from the vehicle,” and a later email added that “the incident also included shouts of a homophobic slur during the interaction.”

The second reported bias incident was “vandalism” that “included a racial threat involving the “n” word” in the Humbert elevator.  Campus Life and Community Development (CLCD) received information about this racial threat yesterday afternoon.

The racial slur and  racial threat reported yesterday come three weeks since people in a red SUV shouted, “We hang black people around here f****r, so you better watch out” at first-year Christian Bradford.

All three cases are still under investigation, adding to the other four unsolved bias incidents from last semester.

Last April, six bias incidents were reported in a week, of which the majority were categorized as racist acts. The first bias incident of that week was a report of a racial threat written on a restroom wall at the Fluttering Duck. The writing threatened that “All N***** must die -KKK.”

Four days later, on April 15, three bias incidents were reported and two of those included the n-word. One incident was the n-word formed by rocks in the nature park. An investigation headed by Public Safety and Greencastle Police Department found that it was Greencastle high schoolers who committed the act.

The other bias incident reported that day also occurred at The Fluttering Duck and was characterized as “a student engaging in offensive behavior” in an email sent by President Mark McCoy. In an April 18 news conference, Vice President of Student Academic Life Alan Hill identified the student as Ellie Locke, a then senior. Locke’s case was sent to Community Standards, but the results of her hearing have not been released to the public.

Two days later “a racist writing was found on a toilet seat in Harrison Hall,” according to an email to the DePauw community that day from director of Public Safety Charlene Shrewsbury. The writing said “s*nd” and “n*****.”

Following the two bias incidents reported yesterday, McCoy sent an email to the campus community. He declared these acts as “reprehensible and an affront to the core values the DePauw community is built on,” and that “if the person(s) responsible for either of these vile acts is identified, the repercussions will be swift and serious.”

The racist writing would be considered a hate crime. However, Indiana is one of five states that has no hate crimes law.

President Mark McCoy is leading a charge to change that.

Earlier this month, he addressed lawmakers in Indianapolis on this subject.

“I hear a message from many students that continues to echo: ‘Does Indiana care?’” he said. “The absence of a hate crimes bill in Indiana speaks much more loudly than any of us would like.”

Prospective students want to know where DePauw, Greencastle, and the state stand regarding hate crime laws, he continued. “Greencastle has a hate crime ordinance, but when they ask about our state, we have to say that at the moment, our state does not have a hate crime law.”

The current lack of a hate crimes law means that if the people who committed the unsolved racist acts are found, they cannot be charged.

 

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