A recent act of brazen racism at Florida Gulf Coast University has African American students worried over their safety and left administrators at the school scrambling to address the incident.
According to the school's Eagle News newspaper, the words "Kill Niggers" were discovered on October 12 by biology professor Sharon Isern, who found them scrawled alongside a crude drawing of a black body hanging from a tree on a whiteboard in Seidler Hall, the university's arts and sciences building.
In a statement issued on October 26, FGCU president Wilson Bradshaw called the graffiti "deeply disturbing" but said that the identity of the culprit behind the racist text and image is presently unknown.
"No threats or other activity related to this matter have been reported," Bradshaw explained. "The University police department increased its patrols to try and catch anyone in the act, but but no repeat occurrences have been reported or seen."
Whether this is an isolated act or not, the campus community has been understandably disturbed by the incident.
"They’re talking about killing a certain race, so it’s not something that should be taken lightly in my opinion,” student Brielle Conner told local station WBBH. "That is really bold," she added later. "I’ve never heard of anything like that happening around here"
According to the station, the doors to Seidler Hall are typically left unlocked both day and night.
Shocking as the racist graffiti may have been, campus police told the Eagle News they are essentially hamstrung in this situation.
"There is no active criminal investigation as no crime occured,” Chief Steven Moore told the paper. “This was on a white board with the proper type of pens so easily erased, therefore, no vandalism. As there is no crime, there is no hate crime."
In response to the incident, students at the school have organized an on-campus rally scheduled for this Thursday.
— Marvin T. (@Marvin2293) October 26, 2016
In a statement provided to the Eagle News, FGCU described the graffiti as a "hateful expression which is contrary to the civil and mutually respectful culture of our campus community."