On Thursday morning, a racist drawing was discovered on a whiteboard in a common room in Endicott Hall of Newing College. That evening, Binghamton University issued a B-Line News Addition in response to the finding.
The statement, which is no longer available on the website as of Sunday evening, said, “Offensive graffiti that has been characterized as racist was reported at about 8:45 a.m. today, Thursday, Oct. 6, on a whiteboard in the Common Room of Endicott Hall in Newing College. Binghamton University does not condone offensive incidents of any kind.”
While the University acknowledged the incident, it didn’t condemn the underlying issue in this incident: blatant racism on our campus. It seems as though the University was trying to criticize this act in a roundabout way by stating the graffiti was “characterized as racist” rather than blatantly stating that it was racist. Regardless of who is believed to have created these drawings, the University’s language and actions were vague and insufficient.
We live in a social and political climate in which all acts of hatred or bigotry must be immediately condemned. We cannot use vague language or beat around the bush when talking about racism. Even our own president, Donald Trump, did not immediately and effectively condemn the events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia between protesters and neo-Nazi marchers. If we ever want to move forward to dismantle institutions of racism in our country, we must call it out, admit that it is there and condemn it for exactly what it is.
This certainly also applies to our University; if we want to foster a safe and united campus that’s free of hatred, we must address it explicitly. It is the University’s responsibility to denounce all acts of hatred, regardless of their manifestations. We, as students, should not have to worry about encountering any sort of bigotry on this campus. We are here to learn and to better ourselves.
After the graffiti was discovered, a town hall was quickly organized by student leaders — rather than by the administration — to discuss the incident. This seems to be another instance of students taking matters into their own hands and fighting for change when the University did not do an effective job of doing so, and it will not be the last time. Although it’s admirable for our fellow students to be taking action, the responsibility to ensure the safety of students lays on the administration.
No one should ever feel scared or threatened by anything on this campus. It is unclear why the B-Line News Addition is no longer available on the website, as there is now no evidence of the University addressing this issue. The University must decide if it is going to continue to loosely and ineffectively address issues of race, or if it will take a strong stand to condemn this behavior.