Ignorance and hate on campus

The University community needs to deal with the disturbing trend of bigotry on campus.

Intolerance recently reared its ugly face in Centennial Hall. Not only have these acts, which could qualify as possible hate crimes, occurred around campus, now they have occurred where students should feel safest – where they live. Intolerance, hatred and bigotry cannot be ignored at the University.

Though the University police are investigating incidents that might qualify as hate crimes, students outside the immediate community seem to be unconcerned. Little talk has circulated the halls of Centennial Hall outside those houses where the incidents happened. Though there is not much one individual can do after a hate crime, discussing the issues is necessary to spread awareness and combat hate crimes on campus.

A resident’s door was spit on and profane statements were written on it, a noose was made out of decorative lighting with ignorant statements in its middle, and swastikas and anti-Semitic profanity were written in bathroom stalls. These acts have made many residents feel unsafe and unwelcome in a place where they should never feel that way.

The incidents were discovered and addressed by faculty members, meaning that the students who encountered them did nothing when they discovered them.

The fact that all residents of Centennial Hall have been informed of the incidents is good, but the University community is still uninformed. It is as if the acts in Centennial Hall aren’t really important to those who aren’t directly affected nor the University community as a whole. Incidents such as last weekend’s cannot go unanswered.

But discussion of the incidents in print gives us pause. Last fall, this editorial board made the mistake of taking the time to reject a similar actor’s message. These ideas are so pathetically ignorant, they do not justify a reasoned response. But ignoring such incidents could feed a perception that no one cares or that the actions were not a big deal. The community should ignore ignorant bigots’ ideas, but we must not ignore the bigots.

This year, we have seen multiple displays of unabashed anti-Semitism and other hate crimes on campus. The incidents at Centennial Hall should be dealt with head on to create a more-aware and concerned community. It goes without saying the University cares about who combine to make up our richly diverse community.

Intolerance and hatred cannot be ignored by anyone, or they could eventually be ignored by all.