A university in Connecticut is canceling classes on Monday after offensive graffiti bearing the phrase "No n*****s" was found in a campus bathroom.
Connecticut College, a small liberal arts school in New London, will instead encourage students to spend the morning on “self-care," with the option to speak to counselors and chaplains, and senior faculty about racism and diversity in the afternoon.
The administration's swift response to the graffiti is a departure from what students said was a failure to publicly condemn another recent act of racism. A philosophy professor came under fire last week for a Facebook post that compared the Gaza Strip to a pitbull in a cage, and accused Gaza of "efforts to destroy Israel and Jews."
The school initially said it was meeting specifically with those who had concerns.
On Sunday evening, the school's president, Katherine Bergeron, sent students a letter, obtained by Fusion, that seems to acknowledge the demand for public condemnation:
By now, there have been many opinions expressed about the original Facebook post, as well as about subsequent comments on Yik Yak and elsewhere. But one thing has become extremely clear: the level of harm that incendiary language can have on a community. The post caused an outpouring of anger and pain among many different groups of students, faculty, and staff. The groundswell of reaction makes it clear that the issue goes far beyond the effects of a single post. It is about who we are as a community.
Earlier today, as I was writing this letter, I learned of another incident of racist graffiti in the restrooms of Crozier-Williams. We must take action immediately to expose and eradicate this ignorance and hatred. I have decided to cancel tomorrow’s classes to ensure these events receive the proper attention.
Bergeron isn't the only college president in recent weeks forced to confront racism on campus. University of Oklahoma President David Boren shuttered the school's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house after its members were seen on video singing a racist chant. And officials at the University of Virginia have met with students to discuss the campus' racial climate following the bloody arrest of junior Martese Johnson.
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.